Concordia University engineers have developed an algorithm designed to help public officials decide how to manage bridges.
The algorithm takes into account the physical conditions of a particular bridge and places more importance on some factors than others. For example, a bridge that is in poor shape would be seen as being a higher priority than a bridge whose drainage system is inefficient. The algorithm also looks at whether to rebuild a bridge, repair it, or increase maintenance. This feature was developed with the help of experts who chose one of those three options for each of the 20 bridges that were in a sample put together by the researchers who developed the algorithm. After choosing whether it was better to rebuild, repair, or increase maintenance, the researchers used software to simulate all of the various possibilities and determined the cost of each.
Concordia's Abu Dabous says the algorithm is a powerful tool that takes into account the opinion of experts and a systematic assessment of bridges in order to identify the best strategy for dealing with problematic bridges, while simultaneously helping governments stay within the limitations of their budgets.
From The Engineer (United Kingdom)
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