Agent-Based Models as an Insight into Managing Pavement Assets

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McNeil, Sue
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Asset management is a systematic process to support strategic decision making for physical assets. Recognition of budget constraints, development and use of deterioration models, development of strategies and policies, and project selection are important elements of the process. More sophisticated asset management decision support systems also recognize the uncertainty inherent in the process and the challenges in allocating resources in a spatially and socially equitable manner over the extended periods of time that the assets are expected to provide service. However, little attention has been paid to capturing the complex interactions among decision makers. While asset management has been emerging as a discipline, agent-based modeling, a tool for exploring complex systems, has demonstrated the potential to model important interactions and heuristics that reflect the actual management process. By representing a network of pavement segments as an agent-based model, we can examine the effects of agencies, politicians, user actions, deterioration, random failures and various policies on the performance of the system. The presentation defines potential agents – the pavement segments, users, politicians, and engineers – and their interactions, and explains why such agent behaviors are not captured in typical pavement management systems and life cycle cost analyses. Two prototypes agent based systems are presented and demonstrate the potential value of life cycle cost analysis and the importance of planning for catastrophic failure.
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