Construction project cost escalation from planning to construction is a fundamental problem facing the transportation industry. NCHRP Report 574, Guidance for Cost Estimation and Management for Highway Projects During Planning, Programming and Preconstruction, focuses on the general issue of project cost escalation and identified the production of accurate and precise right-of-way cost estimates as one of the primary strategies to help control project cost escalation. It provides a guidebook that contains methods and tools for state departments of transportation to use to develop, track and manage highway project cost estimates in order to achieve estimates with greater consistency and accuracy throughout the long-range transportation planning, priority programming, and preconstruction phases of project development. It does not, however, provide an in-depth treatment of methods and tools necessary to implement a specific strategy related to estimating and managing right-of-way costs.
While increases in project cost estimates over the course of project development may be caused by any number of factors, NCHRP Report 574 indicates that 1) increases in the cost of right-of-way is a significant factor in overall project cost escalation; 2) the manner in which state departments of transportation currently develop, track, and manage cost estimates for right-of-way can be improved; 3) that management practices can be modified to address cost estimate consistency and accuracy throughout the entire project development process; and 4) specific guidance on how to implement more effective methods of developing, tracking and management right-of-way estimates is needed.
The objectives of this research are twofold: 1) to further refine right-of-way cost estimate and management methods and tools, with a focus on methods and tools that would be useful in the planning process, and 2) provide specific guidance to state departments of transportation on how to implement such methods and tools in practice.
The guidebook has been published as NCHRP Report 625 and the final report detailing the development of the guidebook is available online as NCHRP Web-only Document 132.