The goal of this Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award is to understand, predict, and analyze the impact of civil engineering decisions on the environmental, social, and economic value of civil infrastructure systems for its stakeholders (residents, firms, etc.). This aims at advancing our knowledge of how to plan, design, construct, and operate our civil infrastructure systems in a way that maximizes its collective life cycle value. In order to achieve this goal, the research objective of this CAREER award is to account for stakeholder values (safety, economic growth, etc.) in infrastructure project planning and design decision-making through the discovery and formalization of "axiology (a theory of value) of civil infrastructure systems", its application in value modeling and simulation, and its validation in the context of value-sensitive decision-making. The research methodology involves empirical investigations, mathematical modeling, semantic (computer-understandable and meaning-rich) modeling, and semantic simulation.
If successful, this research will provide models for assessing the value of infrastructure projects in a stakeholder-conscious way. These models will offer the structure for soliciting and aligning public values and expectations about infrastructure systems and can guide the planning and design of solutions that are socially-equitable, economically-effective, and environmentally-viable. This research will advance the "science of value" (the science that attempts to formalize value theory using mathematical and logic formalisms). It will also advance the fundamental research in decision theory by offering a value theory that may guide infrastructure system decision-making. This project will involve educational and outreach activities to integrate research findings into coursework and outreach material, engage undergraduate and graduate students, and reach out to K-3 children and female high-school students. These efforts will help foster the "engineer of the future" who has a blend of knowledge, skill, and humanistic understanding of the role and impact of civil engineering in society.