Research Interests

Diffusion of Eco-innovations and Transitions for Infrastructure Systems

The performance of urban infrastructure systems affects livability and well-being of communities, and the decisions to use resources and adapt uses affects the performance of infrastructure.  For example, electricity distribution, drinking water, wastewater, water reclamation, and stormwater systems can be affected by consumer decisions to adopt eco-innovations. These infrastructure systems, in turn, drive how consumers experience the delivery of drinking water and electricity and the removal of wastewater and stormwater. The goal of this research is to capture and simulate the complete feedback loop between infrastructure and human behavior. This research explores the use of agent-based modeling to simulate the adoption of eco-innovations and to explore the transitions in infrastructure performance and resource availability. The framework provides insight to the interconnections and interactions between the consumers, resource sustainability, and delivery system and the effect of these interactions on resource consumption, infrastructure system design, and system resilience. This framework has been applied for:

Assessing and Reducing Risk of Exposure to Contaminants in Drinking Water

Water distribution systems are designed to deliver high-quality water to customers, but water quality is threatened by acute events, such as contamination, and through ageing of pipe networks, which may allow metals to leach or result in contaminant intrusion through leaks. This research explores the reactions of consumers in actute events and simulated the effects of behaviors to reduce consumption on the total exposure within a population.  We developed new methodologies and computational frameworks to:

On-going research is exploring models for predicting the presence of lead in drinking water systems.

Managing Water Supply Sustainability in Sociotechnical Systems

Complex interactions create challenges in managing water supply systems. Managers must adapt to changing climate, growing populations, and stresses imposed by other management units that share a common resource. Forthcoming research explores the interplay among multiple managers and the emergence of water sustainability due to decentralized decision-making.

Smart Cities

Smart cities can use the Internet of Thing (IoT) technologies to operate more efficiently and conserve resources. In the water sector, the IoT connects personal smart devices and everyday objects, such as faucets, pipelines, and surface water bodies that are embedded with sensors, actuators, and network connectivity. Through the IoT system, user experiences and infrastructure conditions can be connected with automatic algorithms to take advantage of continuous data streams and send alerts to consumers or water managers. Utilities can take advantage of the IoT to identify leaks, encourage conservation, forecast water demands and quality, use crowd-sourced data to monitor water conditions, and warn consumers about water problems and hazards. This research is exploring a water smart city that operates its water infrastructure efficiently, provides a safe and reliable water supply, is well connected to its consumer base, and conserves water resources. Utilities in such a city can create novel programs by adapting their operations and planning practises in response to ubiquitous sensor networks and disparate data streams.

Coming Spring 2018... Graduate course CE 791: Smart Cities

© Emily Berglund 2017