Sustainable decision-making in road development: Analysis of road preservation policies

Angie Ruiz*, Jose Guevara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Road infrastructure in appropriate conditions is a requirement for the development of any country. The formulation of policies oriented to preserve road networks responds to political, socio-economic, and environmental interests. Through a hybrid methodology that integrates system dynamics (SD) and analytic hierarchical process (AHP) approaches, this paper compares some strategies employed in the development of sustainable road maintenance policies in Colombia. Using a hypothetical case study of a national road network, a set of maintenance policy alternatives are evaluated through the SD model in order to analyze the evolution of road conditions, and quantify costs and emissions. Then, a multi-criteria evaluation is performed applying the AHP methodology. Results show that in the Colombian context, decision-making processes regarding maintenance policies are highly influenced by economic factors, which lead to short-term strategies such as performing corrective maintenance over predictive maintenance. However, further analysis demonstrates that predictive maintenance allows the road network to remain in good conditions. Simultaneously, roadways in adequate conditions contribute to mitigate the environmental impact, because CO2 emissions are directly related to the interventions performed to preserve these roads. The proposed methodology can be used as a support tool to formulate maintenance policies that consider the long-term effects at the technical, environmental, and economic levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number872
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Analytic hierarchical process
  • CO emissions
  • Road network
  • Sustainability
  • System dynamics


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