Life cycle sustainability assessment for multi-criteria decision making in bridge design: a review

    Ignacio Javier Navarro   Affiliation
    ; Vicent Penadés-Plà Affiliation
    ; David Martínez-Muñoz   Affiliation
    ; Rasmus Rempling Affiliation
    ; Víctor Yepes   Affiliation


Sustainable design of infrastructures has become a major matter of study since the recent establishment of the Agenda 2030. This paper provides a systematic literature review on the use of multi-criteria decision making techniques used so far for the sustainable design of bridges. Special attention is put as well on how the reviewed studies assess the sustainable performance of bridge designs along their life cycle from the economic, the environmental and the social perspective. Although SAW and AHP are recurrently used in the sustainable assessment of bridges, the analysis of the most recent articles show that the application of TOPSIS and PROMETHEE techniques are gaining increasing relevance for such purpose. Most of the studies focus on the research of the construction and the maintenance stage of bridges. However, a need for further analysis is identified when it comes to the assessment of the impacts resulting from the End of Life cycle stage of bridges from a sustainable point of view. The use of intuitionistic and neutrosophic logic have been detected as emerging alternatives to the fuzzy approach of decision making problems.

Keyword : decision making, sustainability, bridge design, state of the art, MCDM, life cycle assessment

How to Cite
Navarro, I. J., Penadés-Plà, V., Martínez-Muñoz, D., Rempling, R., & Yepes, V. (2020). Life cycle sustainability assessment for multi-criteria decision making in bridge design: a review. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 26(7), 690-704.
Published in Issue
Oct 2, 2020
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Aghdaie, M. H., Zolfani, S. H., & Zavadskas, E. K. (2012). Prioritizing constructing projects of municipalities based on AHP and COPRAS-G: A case study about footbridges in Iran. Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering, 7(2), 145–153.

Ardeshir, A., Mohseni, N., Behzadian, K., & Errington, M. (2014). Selection of a bridge construction site using fuzzy analytical hierarchy process in geographic information system. Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering, 39(6), 4405–4420.

Arya, C., Amiri, Z., & Vassie, P. (2015). A new method for evaluating the sustainability of bridges. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Structures and Buildings, 168(6), 441–453.

Balali, V., Mottaghi, A., Shoghli, O., & Golabchi, M. (2014). Selection of appropriate material, construction technique, and structural system of bridges by use of multicriteria decisionmaking method. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2431(1), 79–87.

Bansal, S., Singh, A., & Singh, S. K. (2017). Sustainability evaluation of two iconic bridge corridors under construction using Fuzzy Vikor technique: A case study. Revista ALCONPAT, 7(1), 1–14.

Bukhsh, Z. A., Stipanovic, I., Palic, S. S., & Klanker, G. (2018). Robustness of the multi-attribute utility model for bridge maintenance planning. Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering, 13(4), 404–415.

Bukhsh, A., Stipanovic, I., Klanker, G., O’Connor, A., & Doree, A. G. (2019). Network level bridges maintenance planning using Multi-Attribute Utility Theory. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 15(7), 872–885.

del Caño, A., de la Cruz, M. P., Gómez, D., & Pérez, M. (2016). Fuzzy method for analysing uncertainty in the sustainable design of concrete structures. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 22(7), 924–935.

Cau, B. T., & Hong, N. T. (2017). A new approach to the multicriteria appraisal of investment alternatives for infrastructure projects. International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology, 8(11), 982–994.

Chassiakos, A. P., Vagiotas, P., & Theodorakopoulos, D. D. (2005). A knowledge-based system for maintenance planning of highway concrete bridges. Advances in Engineering Software, 36(11–12), 740–749.

Chen, T. Y. (2014). The extended linear assignment method for multiple criteria decision analysis based on interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy sets. Applied Mathematical Modelling, 38(7–8), 2101–2117.

Chen, T. Y. (2015). IVIF-PROMETHEE outranking methods for multiple criteria decision analysis based on interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy sets. Fuzzy Optimization and Decision Making, 14(2), 173–198.

Chen, T. Y. (2016). An interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy permutation method with likelihood-based preference functions and its application to multiple criteria decision analysis. Applied Soft Computing, 42, 390–409.

Chen, T. Y. (2018). A novel PROMETHEE-based outranking approach for multiple criteria decision analysis with pythagorean fuzzy information. IEEE Access, 6, 54495–54506.

Chen, T. Y. (2019). Novel generalized distance measure of pythagorean fuzzy sets and a compromise approach for multiple criteria decision analysis under uncertainty. IEEE Access, 7, 58168–58185.

Chen, T. Y. (2020). New Chebyshev distance measures for Pythagorean fuzzy sets with applications to multiple criteria decision analysis using an extended ELECTRE approach. Expert Systems with Applications, 147.

Chen, Z., Abdullah, A. B., Anumba, C. J., & Li, H. (2014). ANP experiment for demolition plan evaluation. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 140(2), 06013005.

Choi, J. (2019). Strategy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from maintenance and rehabilitation of highway pavement. Journal of Cleaner Production, 209, 88–100.

Chou, J. S., Pham, A. D., & Wang, H. (2013). Bidding strategy to support decision-making by integrating fuzzy AHP and regression-based simulation. Automation in Construction, 35, 517–527.

Cinelli, M., Coles, S. R., & Kirwan, K. (2014). Analysis of the potentials of multi criteria decision analysis methods to conduct sustainability assessment. Ecological Indicators, 46, 138–148.

Contreras-Nieto, C., Shan, Y., Lewis, P., & Hartell, J. A. (2019). Bridge maintenance prioritization using analytic hierarchy process and fusion tables. Automation in Construction, 101, 99–110.

Dabous, S., & Alkass, S. (2008). Decision support method for multi-criteria selection of bridge rehabilitation strategy. Construction Management and Economics, 26(8), 883–893.

Dabous, S. A., & Alkass, S. (2010). A multi-attribute ranking method for bridge management. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 17(3), 282–291.

Dabous, S. A., & Alkass, S. (2011). Managing bridge infrastructure under budget constraints: A decision support methodology. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 38(11), 1227–1237.

El-Diraby, T. E., & O’Connor, J. T. (2001). Model for evaluating bridge construction plans. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 127(5), 399–405.

El-Mikawi, M., & Mosallam, A. S. (1996). A methodology for evaluation of the use of advanced composites in structural civil engineering applications. Composites Part B: Engineering, 27(3–4), 203–215.

Enfedaque, A., Alberti, M. G., Gálvez, J. C., Rivera, M., & SimónTalero, J. M. (2018). Can polyolefin fibre reinforced concrete improve the sustainability of a flyover bridge? Sustainability, 10(12), 4583.

Fabianowski, D., & Jakiel, P. (2019). An expert fuzzy system for management of railroad bridges in use. Automation in Construction, 106, 102856.

Fallahpour, A., Wong, K. Y., Rajoo, S., Olugu, E. U., Nilashi, M., & Turskis, Z. (2020). A fuzzy decision support system for sustainable construction project selection: an integrated FPP-FIS model. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 26(3), 247–258.

Farkas, A. (2011). Multi-criteria comparison of bridge designs. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 8(1), 173–191.

Frangopol, D. M., & Soliman, M. (2016). Life-cycle of structural systems: recent achievements and future directions. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 12, 1–20.

García-Segura, T., Yepes, V., Martí, J. V., & Alcalá, J. (2014). Optimization of concrete I-beams using a new hybrid glowworm swarm algorithm. Latin American Journal of Solids and Structures, 11(7), 1190–1205.

García-Segura, T., Yepes, V., Frangopol, D. M., & Yang, D. Y. (2017a). Lifetime reliability-based optimization of post-tensioned box-girder bridges. Engineering Structures, 145, 381– 391.

García-Segura, Yepes, V., & Frangopol, D. M. (2017b). Multiobjective design of post-tensioned concrete road bridges using artificial neural networks. Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 56(1), 139–150.

Gervásio, H., & da Silva, S. (2012). A probabilistic decisionmaking approach for the sustainable assessment of infrastructures. Expert Systems with Applications, 39(8), 7121–7131.

Gervásio, H., & da Silva, L. S. (2013). Life-cycle social analysis of motorway bridges. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 9(10), 1019–1039.

Gu, X., Wang, Y., & Yang, B. (2011). Method for selecting the suitable bridge construction projects with interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy information. International Journal of Digital Content Technology and its Applications, 5(7), 201–206.

Hammervold, J., Reenaas, M., & Brattebø, H. (2013). Environmental life cycle assessment of bridges. Journal of Bridge Engineering, 18(2), 153–161.

Huang, M., Zhang, X., Ren, R., Liao, H., Zavadskas, E. K., & Antucheviciene, J. (2020). Energy-saving building program evaluation with an integrated method under linguistic environment. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 26(5), 447–458.

Ilgin, M. A., Gupta, S. M., & Battaïa, O. (2015). Use of MCDM techniques in environmentally conscious manufacturing and product recovery: state of the art. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 37, 746–758.

Issa, U. H., Miky, Y. H., & Abdel-Malak, F. F. (2019). A decision support model for civil engineering projects based on multi-criteria and various data. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 25(2), 100–113.

Itoh, Y., Sunuwar, L., Hirano, T., Hammad, A., & Nishido, T. (2000). Bridge type selection system incorporating environmental impacts. Journal of Global Environment Engineering, 6, 81–101.

Jajac, N., Rogulj, K., & Radnic, J. (2017). Selection of the method for rehabilitation of historic bridges – A decision support concept for the planning of rehabilitation projects. International Journal of Architectural Heritage, 11(2), 261–277.

Jakiel, P., & Fabianowski, D. (2015). FAHP model used for assessment of highway RC bridge structural and technological arrangements. Expert Systems with Applications, 42(8), 4054–4061.

Jato-Espino, D., Castillo-Lopez, E., Rodriguez-Hernandez, J., & Canteras-Jordana, J. C. (2014). A review of application of multi-criteria decision making methods in construction. Automation in Construction, 45, 151–162.

Jia, J., Ibrahim, M., Hadi, M., Orabi, W., & Xiao, Y. (2018). Multi-criteria evaluation framework in selection of Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) method. Sustainability, 10(11), 4059.

Kaya, I., Çolak, M., & Terzi, F. (2018). Use of MCDM techniques for energy policy and decision-making problems: a review. International Journal of Energy Research, 42(7), 2344–2372.

Keshavarz-Ghorabaee, M., Amiri, M., Zavadskas, E. K., Turskis, Z., & Antucheviciene, J. (2018). Ranking of bridge design alternatives: A TOPSIS-FADR method. Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering, 13(3), 209–237.

Kifokeris, D., Matos, J. A. C., Xenidis, Y., & Bragança, L. (2018). Bridge quality appraisal methodology: Application in a reinforced concrete overpass roadway bridge. Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 24(4), 04018034.

Kripka, M., Yepes, V., & Milani, C. J. (2019). Selection of sustainable short-span bridge design in Brazil. Sustainability, 11(5), 1307.

Liu, L., Frangopol, D. M., Mondoro, A., & Yang, D. Y. (2018). Sustainability-informed bridge ranking under scour based on transportation network performance and multiattribute utility. Journal of Bridge Engineering, 23(10), 04018082.

Malekly, H., Meysam-Mousavi, S., & Hashemi, H. (2010). A fuzzy integrated methodology for evaluating conceptual bridge design. Expert Systems with Applications, 37(7), 4910–4920.

Mardani, A., Jusoh, A., Nor, K., Khalifa, Z., Zakwan, N., & Valipour, A. (2015). Multiple criteria decision-making techniques and their applications – a review of the literature from 2000 to 2014. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istrazivanja, 28(1), 516–571.

Mousavi, S. M., Gitinavard, H., & Siadat, A. (2014). A new hesitant fuzzy analytical hierarchy process method for decisionmaking problems under uncertainty. In 2014 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, Bandar Sunway, Malaysia.

Navarro, I. J., Yepes, V., & Martí, A. (2018a). Life cycle cost assessment of preventive strategies applied to prestressed concrete bridges exposed to chlorides. Sustainability, 10(3), 845.

Navarro, I. J., Yepes, V., Martí, J. V., & González-Vidosa, F. (2018b). Life cycle impact assessment of corrosion preventive designs applied to prestressed concrete bridge decks. Journal of Cleaner Production, 196, 698–713.

Navarro, I. J., Yepes, V., Martí, J. V. (2018c). Social life cycle assessment of concrete bridge decks exposed to aggressive environments. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 72, 50–63.

Navarro, I. J., Martí, J. V., Yepes, V., (2019a). Reliability-based maintenance optimization of corrosion preventive designs under a life cycle perspective. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 74, 23–34.

Navarro, I. J., Yepes, V., & Martí, J. V. (2019b). A review of multicriteria assessment techniques applied to sustainable infrastructure design. Advances in Civil Engineering, 2019, 6134803.

Navarro, I. J., Yepes, V., & Martí, J. V. (2020). Sustainability assessment of concrete bridge deck designs in coastal environments using neutrosophic criteria weights. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 16(7), 949–967.

Noryani, M., Sapuan, S. M., & Matsura, M. T. (2018). Multi-criteria decision-making tools for material selection of natural fibre composites: A review. Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Sciences, 12(1), 3330–3353.

Ozcan-Deniz, G., & Zhu, Y. (2015). A multi-objective decisionsupport model for selecting environmentally conscious highway construction methods. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 21(6), 733–747.

Pan, N. F. (2008). Fuzzy AHP approach for selecting the suitable bridge construction method. Automation in Construction, 17(8), 958–965.

Penadés-Plà, V., García-Segura, T., Martí, J. V., & Yepes, V. (2016). A review of multi-criteria decision-making methods applied to the sustainable bridge design. Sustainability, 8(12), 1295.

Penadés-Plà, V., Martí, J. V., García-Segura, T., & Yepes, V. (2017). Life-cycle assessment: A comparison between two optimal post-tensioned concrete box-girder road bridges. Sustainability, 9(10), 1864.

Penadés-Plà, V., García-Segura, T., & Yepes, V. (2020a). Robust design optimization for low-cost concrete box-girder bridge. Mathematics, 8(3), 398.

Penadés-Plà, V., Martínez-Muñoz, D., García-Segura, T., Navarro, I. J., & Yepes, V. (2020b). Environmental and social impact assessment of optimized post-tensioned concrete road bridges. Sustainability, 12(10), 4265.

Peng, K. (2019). Risk evaluation for bridge engineering based on cloud-clustering group decision method. Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 33(1), 04018105.

Pipinato, A., Rebelo, C., Pedrosa, B., & Gervásio, H. (2020). Assessment procedure and rehabilitation criteria for riveted road bridges. Structural Engineering International, 30(1), 109–118.

Podvezko, V. (2011). The comparative analysis of MCDA methods SAW and COPRAS. Inzinerine Ekonomika – Engineering Economics, 22(2), 134–146.

Polat, G., Eray, E., & Bingol, B. N. (2017). An integrated fuzzy mcgdm approach for supplier selection problem. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 23(7), 926–942.

Radwan, N., Senousy, M., & Riad, A. (2016). Neutrosophic AHP multi-criteria decision making method applied on the selection of learning management system. International Journal of Advancements in Computing Technology, 8(5), 95–105.

Rashidi, M., Ghodrat, M., Samali, B., Kendall, B., & Zhang, C. (2017). Remedial modelling of steel bridges through application of analytical hierarchy process (AHP). Applied Sciences, 7(2), 168.

Rempling, R., Mathern, A., Tarazona-Ramos, D., & Luis-Fernández, S. (2019). Automatic structural design by a set-based parametric design method. Automation in Construction, 108, 102936.

Sabatino, S., Frangopol, D. M. & Dong, Y. (2015). Sustainabilityinformed maintenance optimization of highway bridges considering multi-attribute utility and risk attitude. Engineering Structures, 102, 310–321.

Sabatino, S., Frangopol, D. M. & Dong, Y. (2016). Life cycle utility-informed maintenance planning based on lifetime functions: optimum balancing of cost, failure consequences and performance benefit. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 12(7), 830–847.

Salas, J., & Yepes, V. (2020). Enhancing sustainability and resilience through multi-level infrastructure planning. Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3), 962.

Salem, O., Salman, B., & Ghorai, S. (2018). Accelerating construction of roadway bridges using alternative techniques and procurement methods. Transport, 33(2), 567–579.

Sánchez-Garrido, A. J., & Yepes, V. (2020). Multi-criteria assessment of alternative sustainable structures for a self-promoted, single-family home. Journal of Cleaner Production, 258, 120556.

Sasmal, S., & Ramanjaneyulu, K. (2008). Condition evaluation of existing reinforced concrete bridges using fuzzy based analytic hierarchy approach. Expert Systems with Applications, 35(3), 1430–1443.

Schmidt, J.-S., & Osebold, R. (2017). Environmental management systems as a driver for sustainability: state of implementation, benefits and barriers in German construction companies. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, 23(1), 150–162.

Senapati, T., & Yager, R. R. (2019). Some new operations over fermatean fuzzy numbers and application of fermatean fuzzy WPM in multiple criteria decision making. Informatica, 30(2), 391–412.

Sierra, L. A., Pellicer, E., & Yepes, V. (2017). Method for estimating the social sustainability of infrastructure projects. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 65, 41–53.

Shen, F., Xu, J., & Xu, Z. (2016). An outranking sorting method for multi-criteria group decision making using intuitionistic fuzzy sets. Information Sciences, 334–335, 338–353.

Sobanjo, J. O., Stukhart, G., & James, R. W. (1994). Evaluation of projects for rehabilitation of highway bridges. Journal of Structural Engineering, 120(1), 81–99.

Tan, J. S., Elbaz, K., Wang, Z. F., Shen, J. S., & Chen, J. (2020). Lessons learnt from bridge collapse: A view of sustainable management. Sustainability, 12(3), 1205.

Torres-Machi, C., Pellicer, E., Yepes, V., & Chamorro, A. (2017). Towards a sustainable optimization of pavement maintenance programs under budgetary restrictions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 148, 90–102.

Ugwu, O. O., Kumaraswamy, M. M., Wong, A., & Ng, S. T. (2006). Sustainability appraisal in infrastructure projects (SUSAIP): Part 2: A case study in bridge design. Automation in Construction, 15(2), 229–238.

UNEP/SETAC. (2009). Guidelines for social life cycle assessment of products. United Nations Environment Program. In Paris SETAC Life Cycle Initiative United Nations Environment Programme.

Wang, W. (2017). On fuzzy TOPSIS method based on alpha level sets. Journal of Intelligent and Fuzzy Systems, 33(6), 4067–4076.

Wang, Y. M., & Elhag, T. M. S. (2006). Fuzzy TOPSIS method based on alpha level sets with an application to bridge risk assessment. Expert Systems with Applications, 31(2), 309–319.

Wang, Y. M., & Elhag, T. M. S. (2007). A fuzzy group decision making approach for bridge risk assessment. Computers and Industrial Engineering, 53(1), 137–148.

Wang, Y. M., Liu, J., & Elhag, T. M. S. (2008). An integrated AHP-DEA methodology for bridge risk assessment. Computers and Industrial Engineering, 54(3), 513–525.

Wang, J. C., & Chen, T. Y. (2015). Likelihood-based assignment methods for multiple criteria decision analysis based on interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy sets. Fuzzy Optimization and Decision Making, 14(4), 425–457.

Wang, H. L., Qin, S. F., Zhang, Z., & Huang, C. L. (2010). Fuzzy optimum model of semi-structural decision for bridge lectotype. In 7th International Conference on Fuzzy Systems and Knowledge Discovery, Yantai, China.

Wang, Z., Jin, W. L., Wu, K., & Frangopol, D. M. (2018). Social dimensions in sustainability evaluation of deteriorating reinforced concrete bridges. In 6th International Conference on Durability of Concrete Structures.

World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our common future.

Yadollahi, M., Ansari, R., Abd-Majid, M. Z., & Yih, C. H. (2015). A multi-criteria analysis for bridge sustainability assessment: a case study of Penang Second Bridge, Malaysia. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 11(5), 638–654.

Yehia, S., Abudayyeh, O., Fazal, I., & Randolph, D. (2008). A decision support system for concrete bridge deck maintenance. Advances in Engineering Software, 39(3), 202–210.

Yepes, V., García-Segura, T., & Moreno-Jiménez, J. M. (2015). A cognitive approach for the multi-objective optimization of RC structural problems. Archives of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, 15(4), 1024–1036.

Zastrow, P., Molina-Moreno, F., García-Segura, T., Martí, J.V., & Yepes, V. (2017). Life cycle assessment of cost-optimized buttress earth-retaining walls: a parametric study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, 1037–1048.

Zavadskas, E. K., Govindan, K., Antucheviciene, J., & Turskis, Z. (2016a). Hybrid multiple criteria decision-making methods: a review of applications for sustainability issues. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, 29(1), 857–887.

Zavadskas, E. K., Antucheviciene, J., Turskis, Z., & Adeli, H. (2016b). Hybrid multiple-criteria decision-making methods: A review of applications in engineering. Scientia Iranica A, 23(1), 1–20.

Zavadskas, E. K., Antucheviciene, J, & Kaplinski, O. (2016c). Multi-criteria decision making in civil engineering: Part I – a state-of-the-art survey. Engineering Structures and Technologies, 7(3), 103–113.

Zavadskas, E. K., Antucheviciene, J., & Kaplinski, O. (2016d). Multi-criteria decision making in civil engineering. Part II – applications. Engineering Structures and Technologies, 7(4), 151–167.

Zavadskas, E. K., Antucheviciene, J., Vilutiene, T., & Adeli, H. (2018). Sustainable decision-making in civil engineering, construction and building technology. Sustainability, 10(1), 14.

Zhang, Y. R., Wu, W. J., & Wang, Y. F. (2016). Bridge life cycle assessment with data uncertainty. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 21, 569–576.