Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering under Uncertainty: Safety Assessment and Management (ISEUSAM - 2012)

pp 55-71


Uncertainties in Transportation Infrastructure Development and Management

  • Kumares C. SinhaAffiliated withSchool of Civil Engineering, Purdue University Email author 
  • , Samuel LabiAffiliated withSchool of Civil Engineering, Purdue University
  • , Qiang BaiAffiliated withSchool of Civil Engineering, Purdue University

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The development and management of transportation infrastructure is a continuous process that includes the phases of planning and design, construction, operations, maintenance, preservation, and reconstruction. Uncertainties at each phase include variability in demand estimation, reliability of planning and design parameters, construction cost overruns and time delay, unexpected outcomes of operational policies and maintenance and preservation strategies, and risks of unintended disruption due to incidents or sudden extreme events. These variabilities, which are due to inexact levels of natural and anthropogenic factors in the system environment, are manifest ultimately in the form of variable outcomes of specific performance measures established for that phase. Transportation infrastructure managers seek to adequately identify and describe these uncertainties through a quantitative assessment of the likelihood and consequence of each of possible level of the performance outcome and to incorporate these uncertainties into the decision-making process. This chapter identifies major sources of uncertainties at different phases of transportation infrastructure development and management and examines the methods of their measurements. Finally, this chapter presents several approaches to incorporate uncertainties in transportation infrastructure decision-making and provides future directions for research.


Transportation infrastructure Uncertainty Extreme events Decision-making