Data Science: Impacting Infrastructure Investment Decisions

Assistant Professor Daniel Sheldon I’m currently engaged in a research project sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to assess the vulnerability of road networks in Western Massachusetts to disruptions caused by extreme weather events. This is part of a larger interdisciplinary project at UMass that is building holistic models of road and river networks—including factors such as water flow, infrastructure condition, and ecological connectivity—to provide information to help improve the resilience of road networks and the health of river networks. Our pilot project analyzes the 665 square mile portion of the Deerfield River watershed in Western Massachusetts to model the extent to which emergency services will be disrupted if flooding renders key road segments unpassable. We are developing optimization algorithms to select infrastructure maintenance and upgrade projects to minimize…

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