An Integrated Decision-Making Framework for Transportation Architectures: Application to Aviation Systems Design
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The National Transportation System (NTS) is undoubtedly a complex system-of-systems---a collection of diverse 'things' that evolve over time, organized at multiple levels, to achieve a range of possibly conflicting objectives, and never quite behaving as planned. The purpose of this research is to develop a virtual transportation architecture for the ultimate goal of formulating an integrated decision-making framework. The foundational endeavor begins with creating an abstraction of the NTS with the belief that a holistic frame of reference is required to properly study such a multi-disciplinary, trans-domain system. The culmination of the effort produces the Transportation Architecture Field (TAF) as a mental model of the NTS, in which the relationships between four basic entity groups are identified and articulated. This entity-centric abstraction framework underpins the construction of a virtual NTS couched in the form of an agent-based model. The transportation consumers and the service providers are identified as adaptive agents that apply a set of preprogrammed behavioral rules to achieve their respective goals. The transportation infrastructure and multitude of exogenous entities (disruptors and drivers) in the whole system can also be represented without resorting to an extremely complicated structure. The outcome is a flexible, scalable, computational model that allows for examination of numerous scenarios which involve the cascade of interrelated effects of aviation technology, infrastructure, and socioeconomic changes throughout the entire system.