Optimizing Investments in Design, Maintenance, and Operations of Transportation Infrastructure to Capitalize on the Promise of Connected Automated Vehicles
Pablo Luis Durango-Cohen, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering – Northwestern University
The project involves optimization of investments in the design, maintenance, and operation of transportation infrastructure to leverage the potential of Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs). CAVs are expected to significantly impact travel behavior and infrastructure use, influencing billions of dollars invested annually. The proposal aims to develop a comprehensive framework to evaluate the lifecycle and supply-chain effects of infrastructure investments in light of CAV adoption. By considering various scenarios and applications in the Midwestern Region, the proposal seeks to address the direct and indirect economic, social, and environmental consequences of these investments. This research lies at the intersection of economics and operations, focusing on refining infrastructure strategies to capitalize on CAV benefits while contributing to safety, congestion reduction, and economic strength goals outlined by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). The project aligns with USDOT requirements by emphasizing the importance of coordinated infrastructure investments to maximize the potential of CAVs and enhance traffic flow. It addresses USDOT strategic goals by integrating data-driven frameworks to estimate the impact of CAVs on safety and by updating traditional evaluation approaches for infrastructure investments. The proposal also includes practical application through case studies, partnering with the Illinois Department of Transportation and engaging policymakers and engineers to provide insight into adapting infrastructure to shifting travel behaviors and promoting CAV adoption. The technical approach involves integrating input-output analysis and user cost models to capture both direct and indirect impacts of CAV adoption and related investments, addressing problems of capacity management and intervention planning. The project’s tasks encompass literature review, model formulation, case study development, agency outreach, and report preparation to document findings and support informed decision-making.
Institution(s): Northwestern University
Award Year: 2023