Simulating the impacts of policy scenarios on the sustainability performance of infrastructure projects

Hong Yao*, Liyin Shen, Yongtao Tan, Jianli Hao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable development principles have been implemented in various sectors including the construction industry since it was published in the Brundtland Commission Report in 1987. In line with this development, implementation of infrastructure construction projects has been given particular attention as they have more significant impacts on the environment, society and economy. It is considered that proper development and operation of infrastructure projects such as highways can contribute significantly to the mission of sustainable development. However, there is little existing work to provide appropriate methods to assess the sustainability performance of infrastructure projects. The study described in this paper introduces a simulation model, using system dynamics principle, to evaluate the sustainability performance of highway infrastructure projects during the construction and operation stage. The study introduces the indicators which measure the sustainability performance of highway projects and identifies the dynamic factors affecting indicator performance by referring to the relevant feasibility studies of highway projects. A real highway project is presented to demonstrate the application of the simulation model in evaluating the sustainability performance of the project. The case study is used to explore the solutions for improving those poor sustainability performance areas through policy scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1060-1069
Number of pages10
JournalAutomation in Construction
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Infrastructure projects
  • Policy scenarios
  • Simulation
  • Sustainability performance
  • System dynamics

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