The Effects of Dynamic Decision Making on Resource Allocation: The Case of Pavement Management

Sheldon Friedman, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Pavement performance is a broad term that tries to describe how changing usage and varying conditions effect changes in pavement conditions. Measures of performance such as the Pavement Serviceability Index (PSI), the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) or Pavement Quality Index are available for use. Modeling pavement management is an essential activity of a pavement management system. Currently, models are used in the pavement planning and budget development process, as well as in helping to determine pavement life cycle management (George, Rajagopal, and Lim 1989). This process provides a means to plan for both routine maintenance and full rehabilitation of current roads. Maintaining these roads in good order is essential to providing a safe and rapid means of ground transportation in order to support both the current and future economic needs of our communities. System Dynamics is a simulation modeling process that was developed by Jay Forrester while at MIT. The modeling process allows the modeler to capture both the structure of the system under study and the decision rules used by members of the system that affect the behavior of the system. The modeling process is based on the concept that real world systems are non-linear in nature and the results of actions taken feedback and effect the system necessitating new actions. The objective of this study will be to use the System Dynamics modeling process to: Determine if and how current pavement management practices contribute to problems that pavement managers deal with on a day to day basis. Develop a set of recommendations to improve those practices that are found to contribute to or create the problem. Provide a tool that pavement managers can use to test their own proposed changes to their management practices in the form of a simulated environment.