A Simulation Framework for Asset Management in Climate-change Adaptation of Transportation Infrastructure

A Simulation Framework for Asset Management in Climate-change Adaptation of Transportation Infrastructure


Srirama Bhamidipati, Delft University of Technology


An asset management framework, in an agent-based model with multiple assets, is presented as a tool that can assist in developing long-term climate change adaptation strategies for transportation infrastructure.


Asset management is relatively a new domain of infrastructure maintenance and management. It is mostly focused on taking actions based on information collected on various aspects of assets over their entire life cycle. These include exercising options on feasibility, acquisition, maintenance and replacement of an asset for maintaining their operational safety and reliability. With climate change taking center-stage in the last decade, asset management is now starting to look at vulnerabilities of infrastructure assets especially with a focus on robustness and availability of the asset. But this focus is still on individual asset basis and its localized impact. While on the other hand, changing weather patterns (because of climate change) have a large-area impact and affect an array of assets in the wake of an event unlike the damage of one or a few assets that can be predicted by their established deterioration profiles. This impact of a weather event on an area is irrespective of the category of an asset, or the asset in concern of a particular asset manager. The array of assets affected can be of one category (transportation or sewer-lines or underground cables etc.) or a combination of the categories in that area. Many studies that deal with asset management of infrastructure, more often than not, consider one asset category and thus skirt the possibility of studying simultaneous effects of multiple-events on assets. The framework proposed here has the potential of handling multiple events on multiple categories of assets, and for this article we choose to study the simultaneous impact of multiple-events and multiple-assets on a focused asset category (transportation). The framework allows for integrating this multiplicity into a single analysis unit by adopting a layered-approach. In this article, transportation infrastructure and its deterioration based on damage caused by vehicular traffic and weather events is modelled.
Research objective
The main objective therefore is to explore effective incorporation of climate events into asset management by studying the combined impact of multiple climate-change events in an integrated framework and to provide a tool that can assist in formulation of adaptation strategies for transportation infrastructure.
Agent-based modeling is the preferred technique employed for this research. It gives the flexibility of defining and describing multiple agents and events in their simplest known forms and interactions, and to study future scenario that is unseen and unplanned, as is the case with climate events. Also because of its strength to enable modeling of scenarios that spread over a very long time span unlike regular transportation tools that help to analyze peak hour behavior. Long time spans are very vital for studying assets and asset management portfolios.
A sub-area of an urban road network is considered for presenting the framework. The model includes four agents: car users, road segments, floods and an asset manager. Vehicles use this network in a daily home-work-home scenario that causes damage to the road segments. Floods are designed as agents that spread across the network, not only causing damage to the road segments but also affecting the road user behavior in terms of congestion, and re-routing. Climate events like heavy rain/snow are incorporated as external variable and they add to the deterioration of the road segment. As a consequence, an asset manager tries to restore/ fix the asset condition (road segment) by adopting the worst first priority. Each agent is introduced into the model as an independent layer but is coupled with others by a few cause-effect interactions.
Implications for research and practice
1. Transferability: The proposed framework can be used to study asset deterioration by integrating multiple climate events that can be weighed and customized to areas-of-interest in different geographic regions and climate patterns.
2. Flexibility: The ABM platform provides the ease of bottom-up approach that allows describing the simplest activities of agents and their interactions in order to understand the system behavior especially in unseen climate change scenarios. Additionally, the layered framework taken in this research enables different experts and stakeholders to model assets or events of their domain and include it as a layer to increase the richness and practical usability of the model.
3. Associativity: As the framework enables study of assets of the same type or of different types, owners, service providers in a single platform, it has the potential to prompt collaboration between different stakeholders for optimal operations.


Association for European Transport