Incorporating Maintenance Costs and Considerations into Highway Design Decisions

Maintenance costs, while significant throughout the life-cycle of a project, may sometimes not receive full consideration as inputs to design decisions. In Phase I, this project identified research priorities in coordination with the technical advisory committee (TAC) after recommendations were formulated based on reviews of published literature, design policies, and practice, as well as on a survey of design and maintenance personnel. As a result, four potential topics were selected for further exploration: maintenance and long-term costs for barriers, drainage, cross section elements and temporary control, and intersections/interchange form and design. Discussions with the TAC steered the conversation toward an initial big picture analysis of barrier systems and related costs extracted from different DOT databases. In Phase II, the research team accessed 10 years of detailed barrier-related work order data and transactional expenses from internal tracking and accounting systems. After data post-processing using custom search keys for free text fields and comparing different data sources, initial costs, maintenance costs, and project-related costs were extracted by barrier type. Work associated with barrier damage caused by vehicle crashes were available and quantified, but only for cable barriers due to limitations in reporting information in both work orders and accounting transactions. Adjustments for inflation using consumer price indices were applied to all costs for the analysis period, and a life-cycle cost analysis (LCAA) framework was illustrated for main barrier types. Expenses for different barrier types, including initial costs, maintenance, and other project costs, will be valuable to characterize differences in the long-term costs of different barrier systems, particularly for more specific items in the barrier subcategories (for initial costs and other project costs). Also, unitary costs of crash-related expenses for cable barriers, as a function of posts damaged and expected frequency of such damages by vehicle type, could help illustrate future LCCA examples. Difficulties with the data processing, and in general for future analysis of maintenance costs, stemmed from the use of non-standardized and/or optional fields in expense reports to characterize the nature of some of the work performed. Alternative items in the priority list could be further explored using similar financial system reports. However, similar pitfalls would be encountered at finer levels of detail when specific assets subject to maintenance work need to be identified. This is expected to apply to drainage elements, cross section elements and temporary traffic control, and intersection and interchange form and design. Recommendations to improve maintenance data collection for tracking and cost evaluations are provided.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 129p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01917124
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC-23-494
  • Contract Numbers: MPC-493
  • Created Date: Apr 30 2024 9:09AM