Real Options Approach on Macau Road Network – A contribution to NGI-102x

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Another contribution to NGI-102x, the Next Generations Infrastructure online course by Delft University. This article had been presented as part of a peer-reviewed homework assignment. The assignment included description of an infrastructure asset, its owner/manager, current challenges and a real options approach for a solution:

I have chosen the public transportation infrastructure of Macau and its asset owner DSAT, which is the responsible government department in Macau for transportation and road works. As a public body it is responsible for “researches, preparations and implementations of road and transport regulations and planning, as well as the transport facilities and road works affairs”. In particular I have chosen the road network asset.

The asset characteristics of the road network are

  • Function: public, transportation of public
  • Behavior: passive
  • Life cycle: up to 20 years – 100 years
  • Type: fixed, distributed

The environment is:

  • Market – stable
  • Technology development – limited to none

Most relevant lifecycle phase:

  • Design (once the roads are planned they are usually not changed, i.e. a straight does not become a junction)

I see the following three challenges:

  • Anticipation of use of individual roads during the Design stage. In Macau, land reclamation creates new city districts (e.g. Cotai) requiring roads. During the design stage the proper road sizing needs to be established.
  • Maintenance of roads in downtown Macau without disturbance to public. Due to its fixed and distributed nature one cannot repair all roads at the same time without heavily impacting traffic.
  • City development going in a different way than anticipated 40 years ago (e.g. downtown Macau requiring new cable ways underneath roads for telecommunication, etc.). Hence opening and closing of existing roads is common in Macau and Taipa.

A real option to improve the asset management is to include multiple-use trunking and cable pipes in future road development with access points at road junctions. That way, future services could utilize the road ways without having to dig the roads up and disturbing traffic. The initial cost and time of installation is small in comparison to a later implementation when the road is being used.

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