Sociotechnical Needs Assessment and Knowledgebase Development Towards Developing a Comprehensive, Human-Centered, Risk-Based Decision Support System for Prioritizing Bridge Projects

Project Information

Link to Latest Report: Coming Soon


A paradigm shift in thinking and decision making is needed for deciding on setting priorities for repair, upgrade or replacement of existing bridges. Advanced human-centric and data-driven decision-making tools should be developed to provide opportunity for all stakeholders to actively participate in decision making processes. The state of knowledge in the field of research and any other critical information: This project will pave the ground towards such a decision-making tool by collecting the necessary sociotechnical data, creating the knowledge based on this data, and assessing the needs to develop the tool. The novelty of this research is that, for the first time in the transportation management field, the needs and data requirements to create such a decisionmaking tool will be identified with importance given to ensuring the sustainability, resilience, equity, and social justice for all populations. To the PIs’ knowledge, this has not been attempted before with a sociotechnical perspective. Following a thorough study and general assessment of the population characteristics, environmental issues, transportation network and infrastructure, the data requirements of the tool based on infrastructure system profiles, availability, allocation, and optimal assignment of critical resources will be described. Although state and federal Departments of Transportation possess some data sets, this project will go beyond them and include qualitative and quantitative data to create the knowledge base. This knowledge base can be tailored to identify the specific needs of the bridge technologies during blue sky days as well as during a disaster focusing on the following critical outcomes: safety, accessibility, speed, reliability and fulfillment. This will be conducted using a rural-focused case study application to the State of Florida.


The objectives of this research include:

  • Create a secure, unified, integrated, and accessible geospatial knowledge base that includes  heterogeneous sociotechnical data on demographics, socioeconomics, traffic, environment, and infrastructure, which will be available for prioritizing, implementing and validating bridge technologies.
  • Develop a cloudbased platform to provide access to these infrastructure, population, environment, mobility and related geographic information systems (GIS) datasets in the State of Florida,.
  • Conduct a needs assessment using data-driven approaches towards prioritizing bridge technologies.
  • Identify the data requirements for the development of the proposed decision-making tool.


The proposed project includes several tasks

  • Task 1 – Knowledge Acquisition:
    • Since knowledge and experience exists in disparate sources, a large domain of knowledge between literature and the human experts should be surveyed. This step involves meeting with experts to acquire and process expert knowledge, existing practice, and review documents and other resources to clarify the diversity of available knowledge. Following these efforts, a meta-analysis and an extensive review of existing knowledge will be conducted including the following sources: previous studies, generic tools, planning models, and relevant published data.
  • Task 2 – Knowledge Elucidation:
    • This step involves processing the expert knowledge and literature reviewed in the prior step in order to add value to the knowledge acquired. We will compile the demographics, socioeconomics, traffic, environment, and infrastructure data as well as prior experiences of practitioners. These data will be analyzed thoroughly to extract relevant information that can be used for prioritizing bridge projects, especially with a specific focus on rural areas and underserved populations.
  • Task 3 – Knowledge Representation
    • This task will be completed through the development of material including tables, flowcharts, visual illustrations and guidelines using the knowledge obtained and processed in the previous stages. Based on the collected data, hypothetical scenarios will be created with the goal of assessing the performance of the transportation network and bridges in serving the communities they are located in. This information will be presented in GIS-based maps/compatible database formats so that official could access these attributes to evaluate the facility for bridge projects.
  • Task 4 – Validation and Verification
    • Most of the information reviewed will be highly technical and procedural, and therefore it is important to verify and validate this information very carefully before actually using it.Upon carrying out different steps of the framework, they will be evaluated by the experts and the PIs to ensure their accuracy and appropriateness for bridge projects. Depending upon the results of this step, the PIs will decide whether or not to go back to the previous steps, and to make adjustments.

Research Team:
Principal Investigator: Eren Erman Ozguven
Co-Principal Investigator: John Sobanjo, Qianwen Guo