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Standardized Methods Life-Cycle Cost Analysis

Project Information

Project ID: 
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
Thursday, October 1, 2009
End Date: 
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
FHWA Program: 
FHWA Subprogram: 
Pavement and Materials
FHWA Topics: 
Roads and Bridges--Pavement and Materials
TRT Terms: 
Pavement Design; Construction; Infrastructure; Research; Costs; Pavements; Bridges; Roadways
FHWA Discipline: 
Pavement and Materials, Structures
TRB Subject Area: 
Economics, Pavements, Bridges and other structures

Contact Information

First Name: 
Nadarajah (Siva)
Last Name: 
(202) 493-3147
Infrastructure Analysis and Construction Team
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Office Code: 

Project Details

Project Description: 

Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) has become an integral part of many State highway agencies' pavement design and type selection considerations. With increasing miles of our national pavement network needing major rehabilitation or reconstruction during the next several years and the significant impact construction activities have on already overstretched roadways, initial and long-term agency and user costs have become an important part pavement design and type selection process. While past efforts at Federal Highway Administration have addressed the issue of work zone user costs, a number of other related issues have not been addressed in appropriate detail and gaps remain in certain areas, such as how to handle abnormal short-term construction cost fluctuations, market conditions and discount rate, updating of financial data for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), the true remaining value of each alternative at the end of analysis period, and how stochastic analyses can best be used to address some of these difficult issues. Federal Highway Administration has been advocating LCCA and many State highway agencies have developed pavement type selection protocols mostly based on the Federal Highway Administration's Technical Bulletin on LCCA and RealCost software. However, guidelines on how to handle these issues are lacking and State highway agencies are having difficulty in using LCCA effectively to make informed decisions. A recent peer exchange meeting and site visits have raised this as one of the difficulties faced by State highway agencies in conducting LCCA. Technically and economically sound and defensible methods and guidelines to address these issues in a practical manner are needed and will be the goal of this activity.

Partners and Other Sponsor/Managing/Performing Organizations: 
Project Findings: 

Economically sound methods and tools for supporting pavement type selection decision making.


Deliverable Name: 
RealCost User Manual
Deliverable Type: 
Training materials
Deliverable Description: 
The deliverable is the RealCost user manual with four Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) examples: three for pavements and one for bridges.
Deliverable Name: 
RealCost Software
Deliverable Type: 
Deliverable Description: 
Enhanced version of RealCost software for conducting bridge Life-Cycle Cost Analysis and case examples