Principal Investigators: Asim Zia, Christopher Koliba
Funding Agency: US DOT
The proposed project will address the research question: What modifications in transport asset management processes and intergovernmental project prioritization mechanisms are needed to integrate environmental, social and economic sustainability considerations in the allocation of federal and state funds for transport projects? This question has gained new salience with shrinking federal and state budgets and dynamic socio-economic drivers of change, such as climate change induced hazards, climate change mitigation demands, economic development needs, and socio-economic demographics. The funding of transportation projects is facing increasing pressure from a scarcity of financial resources to meet the competitive demands of preserving existing transportation infrastructure while simultaneously planning for future needs envisioned through the lenses of social, environmental and economic sustainability. We propose to develop a computer simulation model of intergovernmental funding mechanisms and asset management decision making processes for simulating funding sources and STIP-based funding allocations of transportation projects in Vermont (2000-2035) under business as usual and alternate policy, planning and governance arrangements. The computer simulation model will be calibrated against observed project prioritization data from 2000 to 2010 to generate a business as usual scenario. By utilizing the simulation model through interactive mediated modeling workshops with regional planners, state agency officials and policy makers, alternate scenarios of innovative policy tools and intergovernmental governance arrangements will be generated and communicated to appropriate audiences. Visioning of such alternate policy and governance arrangements in prioritizing transport projects will prepare the State of Vermont to better adapt to climate change and other drivers of socio-economic change. Applications to other states will be drawn.