Improving Mid-Term, Intermediate, and Long-Range Cost Forecasting: Guidance for State Departments of Transportation

The ability to create accurate forecasts of project costs is a core competency for state departments of transportation (DOTs). Cost forecasting is used by state DOTs to develop and update transportation plans; program projects; manage transportation improvement programs; administer the bid-letting process; and oversee contracts. Forecasts are used to demonstrate fiscal constraint and to track performance measures of on-time, within budget delivery. Reliable and accurate cost estimates help agencies improve decision making and transparency, and build trust by supporting reliable program delivery. Forecasts have a range of time horizons, from short-term construction project estimates (1 to 2 years), mid-term State Transportation Improvement Programs (STIPs; 3 to 5 years), intermediate-range plans (up to 10 years), to Long-Range Transportation Plans (LRTPs; 20 years). However, forecasting costs over long time horizons poses serious challenges: the longer the time horizon, the greater the risk and uncertainty. The objective of this research was to provide guidance for state DOTs to improve forecasting for mid-term, intermediate, and long-range time horizons to better account for cost variability, economic volatility, and risk. The project built upon existing research and current practices in cost forecasting, and serves as a resource for state DOTs to augment their forecasting approaches.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $250000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 10-101

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Hartell, Ann

  • Performing Organizations:

    Auburn University

    Auburn, AL  United States  36830
  • Principal Investigators:

    Rueda-Benavides, Jorge

  • Start Date: 20180501
  • Expected Completion Date: 20200430
  • Actual Completion Date: 20200430
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41631

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01634936
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 10-101
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 18 2017 1:00AM