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HERS-ST Highway Economic Requirements System - State Version: User's Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Early users of HERS-ST encountered issues with the software. This chapter provides answers to the questions most often asked by this first-wave of HERS-ST users.

Why do I need to have administrative privileges to install the HERS-ST software on a computer with the Windows NT, 2000, or XP Pro operating systems?

Answer:
HERS-ST requires that Microsoft ADO 2.7 and various ActiveX dynamic-link libraries be installed and registered in the Windows System Registry. This requires administrative privileges when using these and other Windows operating systems.


HERS-ST reports that it cannot find a file.

Answer:
Verify that the system paths in the Options window are correct. Default paths are listed in the Online Help.


I've created a shortcut for HERS-ST on my desktop; however, when I use this shortcut, the Help file doesn't open when I request it from HERS-ST.

Answer:
Ensure that the Start In attribute of the shortcut is pointing to the same file location path as the HERS-ST executable file is located.


What is the proper format for the Highway Data File so HERS-ST can import it?

Answer:
The Highway Data file must be in the format for Sample Data as defined by the HPMS 4.0 Field Guide.


Are there any regional settings I need to set on my computer?

Answer:
HERS-ST operates only using the US English regional settings. The required number format uses the period (.) as the decimal symbol and the comma (,) as the digit grouping symbol.


If total user benefits are negative, why was the improvement selected?

Answer:
User benefits are just one of three benefits calculated by HERS-ST. The other two are the benefits to the highway agency and the environmental benefits. When HERS-ST evaluates an improvement for implementation, it looks at the sum of all three benefits. Therefore, it is possible for an improvement to have positive net benefits, even though one or two of the benefit components are negative.


Why was an improvement with a negative benefit-cost ratio identified as the best alternative for a highway section?

Answer:
All deficient highway sections, which are sections that are deficient for pavement condition or capacity, are evaluated for improvement. It is possible that the best improvement alternative identified for the deficient section has negative total benefits, which would then result in a negative benefit-cost ratio. This does not mean that all the benefits are negative, but rather that the sum of the three types of benefits (user, agency, and environmental) is negative.


Why was an improvement with a negative benefit-cost ratio implemented?

Answer:
Depending on the analysis type selected by the user, it is possible for HERS-ST to implement an improvement with a negative benefit-cost ratio. This only occurs when the user has specified the Full Engineering Needs type of analysis. In this type of analysis, the minimum benefit-cost ratio is internally set to −9999, which allows HERS-ST to improve all deficient sections regardless of the economic worth of the improvement.

The Minimum Benefit-Cost analysis type and the two constrained analysis types usually do not result in improvements alternatives with negative benefit-cost ratios being implemented. This is because the minimum benefit-cost ratio is user-specified and not internally set by HERS-ST.

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Updated: 02/14/2013