Infrastructure Design & Management

The advent of CAVs promises enhanced safety and mobility of highway operations. However, the impacts of CAVs on highway infrastructure have not been fully studied. As such, highway asset managers are generally not adequately prepared to make the needed investments in the physical infrastructure to accommodate these new technologies. Therefore, CCAT aims to examine the impact of driverless vehicles on the design and management of highway infrastructure. The research approach will be to identify the various dimensions of the impact of CAVs on highway infrastructure with reference to the pre-CAV and post-CAV eras. The first dimension is the physical dimensions of highway in the infrastructure (the dimensions of certain assets will need to be increased, others decreased). The second dimension is the obsolescence of certain existing infrastructure (and their subsequent removal from the asset inventory). The third dimension is the introduction of new types of assets. The fourth dimension is the effect of increased or decreased amounts of highway travel on (a) physical deterioration of the infrastructure (b) user costs associated with highway investments and their effect on economic analysis and (c) highway revenues whether through indirect charging (the fuel tax) or direct charging (VMT fees). In addressing these issues, the proposed project is expected to yield a wide range of benefits to the departments of transportation at every level of government. Agencies will be better informed to make or prioritize investments to prepare for CAVs and will be able to make more reliable assessments of the impacts of CAVs operations on highway infrastructure expenditures and user revenues.

Research Focusing on Infrastructure Design & Management