Life Cycle Costing in Road Planning and Management : A Case Study on Collision-free Roads

Abstract: Construction of infrastructure does not only mean large capital investments but also future costs to operate and maintain these assets. Decision making in planning and design of roads will impact the need of future operation and maintenance activities. Additionally, infrastructure management is often under increasing pressure of aging structures, limited budgets and increased demands from public which require transparency in the decision making. Life cycle costing is a methodology that takes into account costs throughout an asset’s life cycle including investment, operation, maintenance and disposal. Despite the methodology’s existence for more than 40 years, the practical application is often reported to be scarce in both private and public sectors. Implementation in road planning and management means a high complexity where the life cycle costing can to be applied from early planning, design, construction and management in which all influence life cycle cost. Life cycle costing can also be applied in many different ways, level of detail and for different type of studies.For effective implementation of life cycle costing in road planning, design and management, different considerations need to be understood. In this thesis the application of life cycle costing has been studied through case study research. The main case selected was an investment to convert a single carriageway road to a, so called, sparse collision-free road. Through widening and separation between driving directions the traffic safety is significantly improved. However, in recent years increased operation and maintenance costs have been associated with the road type. Especially concerns regarding increased road user cost during road works have been expressed. This case was examined in two case studies from different perspectives. The first one was to study the implications on project appraisal and the second one examined the possibility to optimise pavement design.Results from cost benefit analyses based on established road appraisal techniques indicated that operation and maintenance related costs had limited impact on profitability. The second study also indicated that future cost can be influenced differently depending on criteria for optimal alternative. Based on economic analyses using established techniques, increased operation and maintenance liabilities appear to be of limited concern, in contrary to the perception. In future research this need to be set in context of road management with refined analysis in order to study implications for future management.