Incorporating Maintenance Costs and Considerations into Highway Design Decisions

The strategic plan of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Design includes goals related to incorporating costs and impacts associated with maintenance activities into design decisions. These goals include: (1) developing cost-effective solutions for delivering projects that minimize the operational and maintenance resources needed to sustain system effectiveness and functionality; and (2) supporting efforts to enhance the involvement of construction, maintenance, and operations personnel in the design phase of project delivery. Maintenance costs, while significant throughout the life-cycle of a project, may sometimes be underrepresented as inputs to design decisions. Important considerations may include the frequency and intensity of routine maintenance activities associated with highway and street features and materials, as well as the selection of physical highway and street dimensions to support all types of future maintenance activities and associated temporary traffic control. Maintenance needs of bridges, pavement, and drainage infrastructure are large budget items influenced by initial design decisions. In terms of roadway geometric features, maintenance costs and considerations may be particularly relevant to decisions related to cross section allocation, roundabouts, intersection channelization, curb returns, raised medians, indirect left-turn and U-turn treatments, vertical clearance, and pedestrian/bicyclist accommodation. Roadside features such as barriers, sidewalks, signal supports, lighting, and signs (and any related Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) characteristics associated with these features) also have significant maintenance needs. This research project will examine possible policies, procedures, and practices for including life-cycle maintenance costs and other maintenance considerations into highway design decisions. The primary objectives of this research project are to: (1) identify how transportation system- and project-level design decisions impact long-term maintenance costs and operations; and (2) recommend possible changes to standard drawings and practice that minimize maintenance costs and optimize maintenance operations while fully considering other operational and safety impacts and trade-offs. The above objectives will be accomplished through a phased approach. The following major tasks are anticipated for each of the phases. Phase I: Synthesis of Literature and Practice: (1) Synthesize Literature. Identify, review, and critically synthesize relevant published literature on incorporating maintenance costs and other maintenance considerations into design decisions. Relevant design and value engineering literature that is directly applicable to the research objectives, but outside of the highway and street design discipline, will be considered on a selective basis. (2) Synthesize Current and Historical Design Policies and Practice. Identify, review, and synthesize current and historical practices related to incorporating maintenance costs and other maintenance considerations into highway design criteria and highway design decisions. Information sources will include AASHTO policies and publications, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) publications, and reviews of online state departments of transportation (DOT) documentation. The scope of the Task 2 review is expected to include any documented maintenance considerations when making bridge, pavement, drainage, roadway geometric, roadside, and operational design decisions. (3) Conduct Surveys. Survey design and maintenance personnel from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) identified by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) as well as design and maintenance personnel from other selected state DOTs identified by the TAC and the research team (approved by the TAC) to identify and characterize practitioner perspectives on a) the frequency and intensity of routine maintenance activities associated with highway and street features and materials, b) how the selection of physical highway and street dimensions affects different types of future maintenance activities and associated temporary traffic control, c) how the selection of nonconventional design elements (e.g. innovative intersection designs such as CFI, DDI, or ThruTurn, or decorative fencing or other roadside hardware) affects the type and cost of future maintenance, and d) ways to enhance and augment the involvement of maintenance personnel in the design phases of project delivery. It is recognized that UDOT’s Preconstruction Division has been leading efforts to get more maintenance involvement in the design process. The research team will look for ways to capitalize on these efforts and internal knowledge gained to-date. Drafts of the survey instrument and a list of survey participants will be sent to the UDOT TAC for approval. Information gathered during Tasks 1 and 2 will be used to craft the survey questions. (4) Develop Draft Framework. Develop a draft framework for incorporating maintenance costs and other maintenance considerations into highway design decisions during different project development stages. The framework will be comprehensive in a sense to identify all possible maintenance-related inputs to making design decisions; it will not be restricted by current data availability. Insights gained from the results of Tasks 1, 2, and 3 will inform draft framework development. (5) Submit Interim Report. Results of Tasks 1 through 4 will be summarized in an Interim Report and shared with UDOT’s TAC. Phase II: Data Analysis and Draft Framework Revisions: (6) Meet with TAC, Identify Data Needs. A meeting between the research team and TAC will be held approximately one month after the Interim Report is submitted (see Phase I deliverables). The TAC will provide suggestions and comments related to the outcomes of Task 1 through 4, including a critical review of the draft framework, initial impressions on priorities for filling in framework elements, and recommended criteria for establishing priorities (e.g., total budget, potential for cost-cutting, etc.). The TAC will also provide suggestions and UDOT contacts for collecting data that are available to further confirm priorities and conduct life cycle cost analysis once priorities are finalized. The data should include historical labor and equipment costs. (7) Collect Maintenance Cost Data, Analyze Data, and Finalize Priorities. Collect maintenance cost data with assistance from UDOT contacts identified during Task 6. Analyze data and establish priorities based on criteria identified in Task 6. Prepare a technical memorandum with prioritized elements and recommendations for which elements can be addressed with the remaining project time and budget. (8) Conduct Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Populate Framework. Estimate the life cycle costs for different design alternatives for the high-priority elements identified during Task 7. The analysis should consider initial design and construction costs as well as long-term maintenance costs. Identify possible changes to standard drawings and practice that minimize maintenance costs and optimize maintenance operations, and begin to populate related framework elements, showing life-cycle cost differences between design alternatives. (9) Identify and Analyze Operational and Safety Trade-Offs. Identify known traffic operational and safety effects associated with the design alternatives identified and analyzed during Task 8. The primary source of this information will be selected published literature as well as performance prediction tools such as the Highway Safety Manual, Highway Capacity Manual, Roadside Safety Analysis Program, and others. (10) Submit Final Report and Presentation. A Final Report will be prepared and submitted that documents the entire research effort. The final report should, to the extent supported by the research findings, identify how transportation system- and project-level design decisions impact long-term maintenance costs and operations, and 2) recommend possible changes to standard drawings and practice that minimize maintenance costs and optimize maintenance operations while fully considering other operational and safety impacts and trade-offs. The Task 10 activities will follow UDOT Research Division’s Final Report Process (dated January 24, 2012). A PowerPoint presentation highlighting the methodology key findings of the research will also be prepared and delivered to the TAC. The PowerPoint file used during the TAC presentation can also be used for future outreach efforts, including a presentation at the UDOT annual conference.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:

    158669

    DTRT13-G-UTC38

    MPC-493

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Utah Department of Transportation

    4501 South 2700 West
    Project Development
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84114-8380

    Mountain Plains Consortium

    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    122 S. Central Campus Drive
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112-0561

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Hales, Thomas

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Utah, Salt Lake City

    College of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112-0561

    Mountain Plains Consortium

    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    122 S. Central Campus Drive
    Salt Lake City, UT  United States  84112-0561
  • Principal Investigators:

    Porter, Richard

  • Start Date: 20150731
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180731
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: MPC-493

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01574336
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Utah Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 158669, DTRT13-G-UTC38, MPC-493
  • Files: UTC, RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 27 2015 12:28PM