A Multi-Objective Optimization-Based Pavement Management Decision-Support System for Enhancing Pavement Sustainability

João Santos, Adelino Jorge Lopes Ferreira, Gerardo Flintsch

Last modified: 2017-02-28


In a society where the public awareness of environmental protection is increasing remarkably and the availability of resources and funding is limited, it is more vital than ever that departments of transportation and decision-makers seek new tools that enable them to make the best and most rational use of these resources, taking into account environmental and social factors, along with economic and technical considerations. However, the practice adopted by highway agencies with regards to pavement management, has mostly consisted of employing life cycle costs analysis (LCCA) systems to evaluate the overall long-term economic efficiency of competing pavement design and maintenance and rehabilitation activity alternatives. This way of supporting the decision-making process as it relates to pavement management, in which little or no importance is given to environmental considerations, does not seem to be effective in advancing sustainability in pavement systems. To address this multifaceted problem, this paper presents a comprehensive and modular multi-objective optimization (MOO) based pavement management decision-support system (DSS) which comprises three main components: (1) a MOO module; (2) a comprehensive and integrated pavement lifecycle costs – life-cycle assessment (LCC-LCA) module that covers the whole life cycle of the pavement; and (3) a decision support module. The potential of the proposed DSS is illustrated with one case study consisting of determining the optimal M&R strategy for an one-way flexible pavement section of a typical Interstate highway in Virginia, USA, which yields the best trade-off between the following three often conflicting objectives: (1) minimization of the present value (PV) of the total life-cycle highway agency costs; (2) minimization of the PV of the life-cycle road user costs; and (3) minimization of the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.


pavement management; life cycle cost analysis; multi-objective optimization; decision-support system

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