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Transportation Asset Management Case Studies
LCCA: The Georgia Experience

2. Setting the Stage

2.1. What Did Georgia Have?

The pavement design committee adopted GDOT's first LCCA guidelines in 1994 (see GDOT Guidelines for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis), incorporating user costs into the equation. Then Georgia and eight other States took part in FHWA's Demonstration Project 115, Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design, attending a two-day workshop on applying LCCA principles and incorporating information from the interim technical bulletin (1) by the same name.

Pavement management duties were spread throughout the department. GDOT worked to address this by forming the Pavement Management Branch in September 2001. The department's goal was to centralize the management of pavements by bringing all pavement management functions together and by applying effective transportation asset management practices to pavements.

GDOT Guidelines for Life-Cycle Cost Analysis

Adopted in 1994

  1. Obtain the latest GDOT Item Mean Summary document. The average cost for specific items can be obtained from this document.
  2. Determine the rehabilitation cost of the existing pavement.
  3. Calculate the cost of each new pavement layer that will be placed on the mainline.
  4. Calculate the total mainline pavement layer cost.
  5. Calculate the cost for each pavement layer on the shoulders.
  6. Calculate the total shoulder pavement layer cost.
  7. Determine the traffic control cost for initial construction and rehabilitation of the existing pavement.
  8. Determine the total initial construction cost.
  9. Determine future rehabilitation costs.
  10. Determine user delay costs.
  11. Determine present worth of future rehabilitation.
  12. Calculate total present worth.
  13. Determine the annualized cost of the project.

2.2. What Did Georgia Want?

Like other DOTs, Georgia wanted to facilitate consistency throughout the agency and expand its transportation asset management program, including LCCA. Specifically, GDOT wished to compare multiple alternatives for a project and evaluate the relative economic merit of each option by analyzing initial and discounted future expenditures for rehabilitation and preservation activities.

Toward that end, in 2002 GDOT staff participated in FHWA training for the agency's RealCost software, a Microsoft Excel-based LCCA spreadsheet program that States can utilize at no charge. During efforts to use RealCost, GDOT staff encountered a challenge: RealCost could compare only two project alternatives at a time, and GDOT wished to compare up to 10 alternatives or more simultaneously.

Because of the numerous alternatives and options available to achieve the objectives of the I-85 project mentioned in the Executive Summary, GDOT Pavement Test Engineer James Turner developed a series of customized spreadsheets to apply the LCCA methodology outlined in the FHWA Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design Technical Bulletin. Turner also incorporated a weighted decision methodology based on guidance in the 1993 American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for Design of Pavement Structures. The customized spreadsheets use cost data from databases maintained in the Engineering Services Division by the GDOT Estimator.

Figure 3: Wildflowers along I-75 in Bartow County.
Photograph taken at ground level amidst the wildflowers in the grassy median of Interstate 75. Moderate traffic passes under the overpass for an exit situated in the distance.

1. The Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design Technical Bulletin is available online at (.pdf, 1.4 mb)

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®
Updated: 11/14/2012