Abstract for: Agent Based Modeling of Intergovernmental Networks: Harnessing Experimental Simulations for Transportation Policy Informatics

Agent-based models can be deployed as policy informatics platforms to track resource flows and distributions under differential configurations of inter-governmental networks. This study provides a detailed application of a policy informatics platform in the contested arena of transportation policy implementation networks across federal, the state of Vermont and its regional and local governments. Through this policy informatics platform, three specific questions are addressed: (1) How much weight can be accorded to state versus regional versus local government priorities in funding transportation infrastructure development projects? (2) What are the trade-offs between efficient maintenance of the transportation system versus equitable access to the transportation services? (3) What are the sources of uncertainty in prioritizing transportation infrastructure projects and how is this uncertainty quantified? A Pattern-Oriented, Agent Based Model (ABM) of a transportation governance network, calibrated for the state of Vermont including its regional and local town governments, is presented. This ABM simulates the dynamics of transportation project prioritization processes under alternate intergovernmental institutional rule structures. This study demonstrates a practical and detailed application of a policy informatics platform by showing how experimental simulations may be used to evaluate the design of inter-governmental policy implementation networks and their impacts on policy outcomes.