Empirical Model with Environmental Considerations in Highway Alignment Optimization

The highway alignment optimization (HAO) process is a complex combinatorial optimization problem in which several conflicting factors, such as highway costs, user preferences, and environmentally sensitive factors, must be simultaneously considered. In previous studies, single-level and bi-level optimization approaches were developed to optimize three-dimensional highway alignments. One drawback of previous approaches is that environmental factors, such as vehicular emissions, were not adequately considered in conjunction with other factors (such as user preferences and highway costs) in the optimization process. This paper builds on our previous studies and proposes two separate approaches for considering environmental emissions in the HAO process. The first approach involves a separate analysis of user and decision-maker preferences, in which a conceptual formulation of various environmental factors is presented. In the second approach, a novel tri-level optimization framework is proposed for optimizing highway alignments. At the upper level, optimization is performed using the traditional criteria of cost minimization. At the intermediate level, total systems emission is calculated. Finally, at the lower level, the user equilibrium traffic flow is optimized. The developed approaches are illustrated through case study examples. The proposed approaches will be beneficial for designing highway alignments when considering environmental emissions. Future studies may make additional refinements to the formulation and sensitivity analyses.


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  • Accession Number: 01519685
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Mar 26 2014 10:07AM