What Do Pavements Cost?

by Leon Noel, Chf.; Federal Highway Administration Pavement Branch, FHWA, 400 Seventh St. NW, Wash., D.C. 20590,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1985, Vol. 55, Issue 11, Pg. 61-63

Document Type: Feature article


Life-cycle costing is a rational tool used to forestall problems with highway infrastructure. Currently this tool is still an imprecise one. The Federal Highway Administration has a system that considers an economic analysis as well as an engineering analysis of governing factors. Initial cost, maintenance costs, user costs and rehabilitation costs are among these factors. The principal barrier to accurate life-cycle cost analysis is the lack of knowledge about pavement performance and the varying costs of different maintenance strategies. Discount rates and their impact on such analyses are discussed; in general, low rates favor improvement with high initial cost, and high rates, short-term improvements. The time period for life-cycle analysis means at least thirty years for new pavements. Iowa's experience with life-cycle costing is further described.

Subject Headings: Life cycles | Economic factors | Maintenance | Pavements | Highways and roads | Infrastructure | Federal government | Systems engineering

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