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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(54) [Completed]

2006 Bottom Line Report State and National Investment Analysis: Highways
[ NCHRP 20-24 (Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: See Below
Principal Investigator: See Below
Effective Date: 4/4/2006
Completion Date: 8/31/2006

In 2002, AASHTO prepared a Highway and Transit Bottom Line Report based on independent analyses of national highway and public transportation investment needs through research and application of the state of the art investment analysis models utilized by FHWA and FTA. The intent of this task is to build upon and replicate that successful 2002 effort with updated and enhanced analyses of investment needs.

Investment analysis at the national level has been dramatically improved with the advent of the HERS (Highway Economic Requirements System) and National Bridge Inventory Analysis System (NBIAS) models. These have introduced well-structured benefit-cost analysis methods into the national assessment process, which has been going on for over 30 years as part of the congressionally-mandated Condition and Performance Reports. More recently FHWA, the sponsor of the HERS model, has extended the capability represented by HERS to State decision-making in a version of the model called HERS ST.

The States must continue to expand and enhance their capability to perform investment analysis at the individual state level and collectively at the national level. The States require a continued, strong, independent, national investment analysis capability that is integrated with state processes. This is to assure that, as was the case in 2002:
  • National resource needs are appropriately assessed; and,
  • State perspectives on investment needs are effectively identified and represented.


An accelerated process needs to be undertaken to continue to provide the States a strong capability to: support and supplement present federal capabilities in this area; to perform independent analyses within the HERS and NBIAS frameworks as needed; and to analyze highway investment needs outside of HERS and NBIAS. Independent capabilities are critical so as to provide assessment capabilities for state proposals for investment options. This process should be conducted in parallel with efforts to expand State transit analyses capabilities so that results are responsive to both Highway and Transit investment needs.

Prior to running the investment needs models, there is a need to accomplish a number of related research tasks in order to have a sound technical basis for providing information and recommendations to policy commissions established under SAFETEA LU. The specific tasks are listed below along with the contract research agencies that eventually conducted the studies.

A. Safety Investment Needs Assessment: Tim Neuman, CH2M Hil l--Completed.
B. ROW and Environmental Mitigation Costs -- Investment Needs Assessment: Nathan Macek, AECOM Transportation Group--Completed.
C. System Operations Investment Needs Measurement and Analysis: Rich Margiotto, Cambridge Systematics, Inc.--Completed
D. Federal Lands Road Investment Needs Assessment: -- This study was deferred and then cancelled in April 2009.
E. Inflation Effects on National Investment Requirements -- Arlee Reno, Cambridge Systematics, Inc. --Completed
F. Bottom Line Scoping, Alan E. Pisarski --Completed
G. 2006 AASHTO Bottom Line Report State and National Investment Analysis: Highways-- Arlee Reno, Cambridge Systematics, Inc. --Completed

The first three (A-C) were research activities conducted by NCHRP prior to the last reauthorization. The results supplied investment requirements for areas that are not part of the main HERS-based modeling capabilities, substantially enriching the overall assessment of highway investment needs. The research done here extended and updated the relatively preliminary work done at that time. The fourth research area (D) is one where there there was initially thought to be a need for an AASHTO-independent capability to produce investment requirements to advise Congress; subsequent reassessment motivated AASHTO to request cancellation of the research. The fifth area (E) responds to the need to improve on inflation and inflation effects in the AASHTO Bottom Line estimates. The sixth area (G) defined the issues to be addressed in AASHTO's Bottom Line report.

Agency-provided reports for Tasks A, B, C, E, and G were provided AASHTO; copies are also available here:

Task A (Adobe PDF, 559 KB, 81 pp.)
Task B (Adobe PDF, 267 KB, 48 pp.)
Task C (Adobe PDF, 389 KB, 45 pp.)
Task E (Adobe PDF, 247 KB, 27 pp.)

Task G, undertaken as NCHRP Project 20-24(54)G , is described separately; click here.



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