Project Title

Current Practices and Methodologies of Calculating Road User Costs Based on a National Survey

Authors' Affiliations

Jeremiah Adebiyi, Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Surveying, College of Business and Technology East Tennessee State University Dr. Joseph Shrestha, Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Surveying, College of Business and Technology East Tennessee State University Dr. Mohammad Uddin, Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Surveying, College of Business and Technology East Tennessee State University

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Engineering, Engineering Technology & Surveying

Additional Sponsors

Dr. Mohammad Uddin

Type

Oral Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Master’s

Project's Category

Civil Engineering, Other Engineering

Abstract Text

While regular maintenance of roads and bridges are essential to ensure a high level of service for road users, road users typically do not prefer having to drive through a construction zone because of the lower speed and increased possibilities of crashes. These road user inconveniences are typically ignored or not given much weight while planning, developing, and awarding construction and maintenance projects. Typically, a contractor with the lowest bid is awarded a construction project irrespective of whether the project will be completed in a shorter or longer duration if the duration is within a provided limit. Such a decision-making process, known as "the apparent lowest bidder," is the most common method for selecting the best contractor for construction projects, even though quicker completion of a construction project results in reduced inconvenience to the road users. To overcome this limitation, state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have started to use the monetary quantification of the road user inconveniences, known as the road user cost, while selecting the best contractor for a project. However, monetary quantification of the road user cost is a significant challenge to state DOTs. Many state DOTs lack a systematic methodology to compute the road user cost or have inconsistent methodologies within the same state DOT. Currently, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) does not have a systematic methodology to compute the road user cost. This study aims to review existing methodologies from other state DOTs across the U.S. to identify the best practices for calculating the road user cost. To achieve this, the study reviewed existing literature on the subject and conducted a nationwide survey questionnaire covering all 50 state DOTs. The survey result shows that 34 out of 37 responding state DOTs are currently calculating the road user cost. More than half of the state DOTs have developed their state-specific methodologies for various purposes, including A+B contract evaluation, incentives/disincentives determination, and benefit-cost analysis for alternative project evaluation. The delay cost and the vehicle operating costs are the two most common components to compute the road user costs. As the road user cost calculation requires additional time and effort, it is calculated only for a limited number of construction projects based on the project's duration, location, and complexity. Most state DOTs prefer and use a spreadsheet-based tool to ease the calculation process. The survey results provide the most extensive and detailed information about the current practices of calculating the road user costs in the U.S. The survey results will be used to develop a new methodology to compute road user costs for TDOT. Other state DOTs can also use the study's findings to improve their road user cost calculation methodologies. Such improved methodology will help state DOTs make more informed contract-management decisions and reduce inconveniences to road users.

Keywords: Road User's Cost, Department of Transportation, Work Zone, A+B Bidding

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Current Practices and Methodologies of Calculating Road User Costs Based on a National Survey

While regular maintenance of roads and bridges are essential to ensure a high level of service for road users, road users typically do not prefer having to drive through a construction zone because of the lower speed and increased possibilities of crashes. These road user inconveniences are typically ignored or not given much weight while planning, developing, and awarding construction and maintenance projects. Typically, a contractor with the lowest bid is awarded a construction project irrespective of whether the project will be completed in a shorter or longer duration if the duration is within a provided limit. Such a decision-making process, known as "the apparent lowest bidder," is the most common method for selecting the best contractor for construction projects, even though quicker completion of a construction project results in reduced inconvenience to the road users. To overcome this limitation, state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have started to use the monetary quantification of the road user inconveniences, known as the road user cost, while selecting the best contractor for a project. However, monetary quantification of the road user cost is a significant challenge to state DOTs. Many state DOTs lack a systematic methodology to compute the road user cost or have inconsistent methodologies within the same state DOT. Currently, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) does not have a systematic methodology to compute the road user cost. This study aims to review existing methodologies from other state DOTs across the U.S. to identify the best practices for calculating the road user cost. To achieve this, the study reviewed existing literature on the subject and conducted a nationwide survey questionnaire covering all 50 state DOTs. The survey result shows that 34 out of 37 responding state DOTs are currently calculating the road user cost. More than half of the state DOTs have developed their state-specific methodologies for various purposes, including A+B contract evaluation, incentives/disincentives determination, and benefit-cost analysis for alternative project evaluation. The delay cost and the vehicle operating costs are the two most common components to compute the road user costs. As the road user cost calculation requires additional time and effort, it is calculated only for a limited number of construction projects based on the project's duration, location, and complexity. Most state DOTs prefer and use a spreadsheet-based tool to ease the calculation process. The survey results provide the most extensive and detailed information about the current practices of calculating the road user costs in the U.S. The survey results will be used to develop a new methodology to compute road user costs for TDOT. Other state DOTs can also use the study's findings to improve their road user cost calculation methodologies. Such improved methodology will help state DOTs make more informed contract-management decisions and reduce inconveniences to road users.

Keywords: Road User's Cost, Department of Transportation, Work Zone, A+B Bidding

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