Smart Funding Strategies for Maintaining Interdependent Transportation Infrastructure Assets

A road network, consisting of different, but interdependent, transportation infrastructure assets, such as pavements, bridges, signs, etc., supports the mobility, economy, and safety of society as a whole. According to the 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card, the U.S. highway system has been underfunded for years. In 2015, 21% of highway pavements are in poor condition, which costs motorists $120.5 billion in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs. Over all, there is a need of $836 billion in repairs and capital investment for America’s highway system. Therefore, how to cost effectively maintain the road network under the stringent budget is the biggest challenge faced by state and local highway agencies. To allocate funding for maintaining different transportation infrastructure assets in a road network, upper management or other decision makers in highway agencies often rely on subjective judgment, which results in inefficient use of the scarce transportation funds. To address this issue, this project identifies the key systemic inefficiencies in state and local highway agencies in maintaining road network, and proposes a new methodology to cost‐effectively maintain the competing, interdependent transportation infrastructure assets using an objective means. The proposed methodology comprehensively studies the interdependency among different assets in a road network. New performance measures are proposed based on the interdependency. Thus, the funding allocations, aiming to maximize the new performance measures, can be objectively and optimally achieved. The research outcomes, if successful, will bridge the gap between the use of transportation network and the maintenance of transportation infrastructure assets. Case studies are performed to validate the effectiveness of the proposed methodology.