A system model for assessing water consumption across transportation modes in urban mobility networks

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Yen, Jeffrey Lee
Bras, Berdinus A.
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Energy and environmental impacts are two factors that will influence urban region composition in the near future. One emerging issue is the effect on water usage resulting from changes in regional or urban transportation trends. With many regions experiencing stresses on water availability, transportation planners and users need to combine information on transportation-related water consumption for any region and assess potential impacts on local water resources from the expansion of alternative transportation modes. This thesis will focus on use-phase water consumption factors for multiple vehicle modes, energy and fuel pathways, roads, and vehicle infrastructure for a given transportation network. While there are studies examining life cycle impacts for energy generation and vehicle usage, few repeatable models exist for assessing overall water consumption across several transportation modes within urban regions. As such, the question is: is it possible to develop a traceable decision support model that combines and assesses water consumption from transportation modes and related mobility infrastructure for a given mobility network? Based on this, an object-oriented system model of transportation elements was developed using the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) and Model-Based Systems Engineering principles to compare water consumption across vehicle modes for assessing the resiliency of existing infrastructure and water resources. To demonstrate the intent of this model, daily network usage water consumption will be analyzed for current and alternative network scenarios projected by policies regarding the expansion of alternative energy. The model is expected to show variations in water consumption due to fluctuations in energy pathways, market shares, and driving conditions, from which the model should help determine the feasibility of expanding alterative vehicles and fuels in these networks. While spatially explicit data is limited compared to the national averages that are used as model inputs, the analytical framework within this model closely follows that of existing assessments and the reusable nature of SysML model elements allows for the future expansion of additional transportation modes and infrastructure as well as other environmental analyses.
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