A Comprehensive Decision Support Tool for Accelerated Bridge Construction Considering Social Equity

Project Information

Link to the Latest Report: June 2023 Progress Report

The suitability of using accelerated bridge construction (ABC) techniques in bridge construction projects has potential interdependencies with several social and environmental factors related to communities affected by the bridge project in addition to economic, safety, and technical factors related to the design and construction of bridges. Decision-makers (e.g., Departments of Transportation- DOTs) need to assure that the ABC techniques are thoughtfully viewed since many of the projects have access to limited budgets and time and include construction limitations. State DOTs across the country utilize different decision-making approaches, ranging from complex to simpler processes, for determining the suitability of ABC methods in bridge projects. Connecticut DOT (CTDOT) uses a middle-ground multi-criteria decision-making approach entitled “ABC Decision Matrix” based on a spreadsheet tool to aid decision makers in adopting ABC methods. The CTDOT Decision Matrix is a relatively simple, yet effective, tool that deserves improvements to become more comprehensive, less subjective, and more flexible to be used by other state DOTs.

The main objective of this research is to improve the CTDOT ABC decision making tool to obtain an improved tool that is more comprehensive, less subjective, and more flexible to be used by other state DOTs. The improvements will be made by (1) Considering the benefits of ABC on roadway safety, (2) Considering the contributions of ABC to social equity and environmental justice, (3) Developing quantitative measures for the evaluation of decision criteria where possible, and (4) Using a systematic method for the determination of relative importance (weights) of criteria. A case study will be used to demonstrate the applicability of the improved tool.

The following major tasks will be performed to achieve the project objective:

  • Task 1 – Literature Review
    • The project includes a literature review to identify the state of the knowledge and practice about ABC decision making tools from different DOTs and incorporating social equity and environmental justice in infrastructure planning.
  • Task 2 – Decision Criteria
    • New decision criteria will be developed to incorporate the contribution (benefits) of ABC to important problems such as roadway safety, social equity, and environmental justice.
  • Task 3 – Quantitative Measures for the Evaluation of Criteria
    • Quantitative evaluation of criteria reduces the subjectivity in the decision-making process and creates more accurate results. While using quantitative evaluations is not possible for every decision criterion, efforts will be made to minimize the number of qualitative evaluations in the decision-making process.
  • Task 4 – Relative Weights of Criteria
    • To extend the applicability of the tool to all state DOTs, systematic procedures for determining relative weights of criteria will be developed.
  • Task 5 – Improved ABC Decision Making Tool
    • An improved spreadsheet tool will be developed by incorporating the output of Tasks 2, 3, and 4 to the CTDOT tool.
  • Task 6 – Case Study
    • Application of the developed tool to a bridge construction project will be demonstrated in a case study.
  • Task 7 – Reporting
    • Results and findings of the study will be reported in a manner consistent with existing protocols.

Research Team:
Principal Investigator:  Dr. Ali Ebrahimian
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Islam Mantawy
Co-Principal Investigator: Ankitha Arvan
Research Assistant:  Nasim Mohamadiazar

Previous Progress Reports: