A Microdata Analysis Approach to Transport Infrastructure Maintenance

University dissertation from Borlänge : Högskolan Dalarna

Abstract: Maintenance of transport infrastructure assets is widely advocated as the key in minimizing current and future costs of the transportation network. While effective maintenance decisions are often a result of engineering skills and practical knowledge, efficient decisions must also account for the net result over an asset's life-cycle. One essential aspect in the long term perspective of transport infrastructure maintenance is to proactively estimate maintenance needs. In dealing with immediate maintenance actions, support tools that can prioritize potential maintenance candidates are important to obtain an efficient maintenance strategy.This dissertation consists of five individual research papers presenting a microdata analysis approach to transport infrastructure maintenance. Microdata analysis is a multidisciplinary field in which large quantities of data is collected, analyzed, and interpreted to improve decision-making. Increased access to transport infrastructure data enables a deeper understanding of causal effects and a possibility to make predictions of future outcomes. The microdata analysis approach covers the complete process from data collection to actual decisions and is therefore well suited for the task of improving efficiency in transport infrastructure maintenance.Statistical modeling was the selected analysis method in this dissertation and provided solutions to the different problems presented in each of the five papers. In Paper I, a time-to-event model was used to estimate remaining road pavement lifetimes in Sweden. In Paper II, an extension of the model in Paper I assessed the impact of latent variables on road lifetimes; displaying the sections in a road network that are weaker due to e.g. subsoil conditions or undetected heavy traffic. The study in Paper III incorporated a probabilistic parametric distribution as a representation of road lifetimes into an equation for the marginal cost of road wear. Differentiated road wear marginal costs for heavy and light vehicles are an important information basis for decisions regarding vehicle miles traveled (VMT) taxation policies.In Paper IV, a distribution based clustering method was used to distinguish between road segments that are deteriorating and road segments that have a stationary road condition. Within railway networks, temporary speed restrictions are often imposed because of maintenance and must be addressed in order to keep punctuality. The study in Paper V evaluated the empirical effect on running time of speed restrictions on a Norwegian railway line using a generalized linear mixed model.