Programming the Upgrade of Road Bridges by Sequential Combination of Binary Optimization Routines
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Since spatial connectivity has been achieved at a significant degree in the developed societies, optimal access and infrastructure management stands for the important thread raised ahead. This issue is important since the large-scale existing connection/communication system that has been developed in the past many decades, should be handed over to the next generations in an operational and reliable condition. This aim requires large amounts of effort and as so it should be invested in the most reasonable (if not optimal) manner, utilizing the available information and means for this purpose. In this paper, an optimal budget allocation framework is developed for the optimal scheduling of a bridges upgrading program. The framework takes into consideration the most important features involved in such cases, while alternative formulations are also presented and discussed. The application of the proposed framework is done on a large-scale realistic database from the highway system of US, able to provide an adequate test-bed for investigating the optimal upgrade problem. The solution is achieved by solving a binary/selection mathematical programming problem through a suitably coded Branch-and-Bound algorithm which is sequentially combined with a Genetic Algorithm for improving optimization performance. Under the proposed framework, the optimization results can be significantly improved by tackling the possible inefficiencies of the first optimization routine, with the use of the next one. The results are then discussed in order to provide insights of applying the proposed framework in realistic infrastructure upgrading schemes.