On a daily basis, local road agencies in South Dakota face the question of how to cost-effectively maintain low-volume roads. Specifically, decision makers are faced with the challenge of determining when it is most economical to maintain, upgrade, or downgrade a road's existing surface. In order to assist decision makers with these types of decisions, the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) initiated a research study in 2002 to investigate surfacing criteria for low-volume roads. The overall objective of this research study is to create a process that allows the user to compare the costs associated with different types of roads to provide assistance in deciding which surface type (hot-mix asphalt, blotter, gravel, or stabilized gravel) is most economical under a specific set of circumstances. In addition to incorporating economic factors into the analysis, the process also allows the user to consider other non-economic factors that are more subjective and difficult to quantify, such as political factors, growth rates, housing concentration, mail routes, and industry/truck traffic. The process used during this study is flexible enough to allow users to consider any combination of agency costs incurred by the agency for maintaining its roads, non-agency (user) cost factors such as vehicle operating costs or crash potential, and non-economic factors such as politics and housing densities. The underlying methodology developed during this project for making road surface type decisions is based upon life-cycle cost analysis techniques that focus on selecting the most cost-effective road surface to meet a specific need. The methodology was created using agency cost and user cost models that were developed based upon specific road section information supplied by various local agencies in South Dakota, average daily traffic and crash occurrence information supplied by the SDDOT, information obtained through a literature search, and input from members of the Technical Panel. The primary deliverables for this study include a Technical Brief that summarizes the manual procedure for determining the appropriate surface type for a road section based upon the average conditions, and a software tool that allows the user to analyze economic and non-economic factors at specific locations to determine the appropriate surface type.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 112 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00987651
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: SD2002-10-F, Final Report
  • Contract Numbers: 310803
  • Created Date: Mar 8 2005 12:00AM