Highway User Benefit/Cost Analysis in California

by Heinz Heckeroth, (M.ASCE), Asst. Dir. for Highways; California Dept. of Transportation, Sacramento, Calif.,
Charles E. Paulsen, (M.ASCE), Sr. Transportation Engr.; Div. of Highways, California Dept.of Transportation, Sacramento, Calif.,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 4, Pg. 605-615

Document Type: Journal Paper


Recent and timely emphasis on environmental impact and on community involvement in the highway planning process does not eliminate User Benefit/Cost Analysis as a necessary part of the process. The California Department of Transportation has employed user benefit/cost measures for many years. The procedure used today is based on experience and research. It is a compromise between economic rigor and operational simplicity. The current procedure is developed as a computerized User Benefit/Cost Model that provides on-line update capability for all data. The model receives projected traffic demand, existing and proposed highway geometry, and initial project cost as inputs. Separate user benefit/cost indices for safety and delay benefits are calculated. Estimated future benefits and costs (in today's dollars) are inflated, then discounted to their present worth, using appropriate compound interest relationships.

Subject Headings: Highways and roads | Computer models | Traffic models | Environmental issues | Economic factors | Geometrics | Construction costs | Safety | California | United States

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