U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Asset Management


RealCost User Manual

Entering, Saving, and Loading Data

A specific action performed by the highway agency, such as initial construction or major rehabilitation. An activity is defined by its agency costs, its service life, and its effects on highway users. An activity is a component of an alternative.

Agency cost
Monies spent by a transportation agency for construction or rehabilitation activities.

The complete set of activities that define a means to achieve the performance goals of a project, including the initial and future activities. In life-cycle cost analysis, all alternatives being considered for a single project will equally meet the performance requirements of the project.

Data input field
An area on a form where data may be entered.

A user interface in RealCost.

Graphical user interface
A set of window graphics that provides an easy-to-use interface to a software program.

LCCA menu
A special menu item that is created by RealCost and resides on the Excel 2000 menu bar. The menu allows access to many of the forms used as well as the Switchboard.

A stored series of commands and functions that can be run to perform a specific task or tasks.

An Excel 2000 component that allows software users to interface with the software. The menu bar typically is located at the top of the Excel 2000 window.

For the purposes of RealCost, a project is the provision of a specific level of performance to the motoring public. All design alternatives being considered for a project will provide the same level of performance for road users.

Service Life
The period of time during which the product of a construction or rehabilitation activity is able to meet the performance requirements of a roadway. This period defines the time of normal operations between agency activities.

The primary interface mechanism in RealCost. The Switchboard appears automatically when the software is started and may also be accessed through the RealCost menu.

Tab (worksheet tab)
A selection device at the bottom of a displayed Excel 2000 workbook file that allows the software user to select and move between different worksheets within the workbook.

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
A tool used to automate tasks ranging from adding together two inputted numbers to performing multistep, complex operations that use multiple inputs. Visual Basic code is also used to create the form interface for RealCost.

A single page of an Excel 2000 workbook; a spreadsheet.

An Excel 2000 file composed of one or more worksheets and additional Visual Basic for Applications code. The RealCost software is a workbook.

Work zone
An area of reduced roadway capacity due to agency construction or rehabilitation activities.


Highway Capacity Manual, 3rd ed. (TRB Special Report 209).
Washington, DC: Transportation Research Board, 1994.

Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design, Interim Technical Bulletin, (FHWA-SA-98-079). Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration, September 1998.
Available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/asstmgmt/lcca.htm.

Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Primer (FHWA-IF-02-047).
Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration, August 2002.
Available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/asstmgmt/lcca.htm.

MicroBENCOST (NCHRP 7-12, MicroBENCOST User's Manual and software).
College Station, TX: Texas Transportation Institute, 1993.
See tti.tamu.edu/product/ror/microbencost.stm.

Procedures for Estimating Highway User Costs, Air Pollution, and Noise Effects, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Study 133.
D. A. Curry, D. G. Anderson. Washington, DC: National Research Council, Highway Research Board, 1972.

For assistance in implementing a life-cycle cost analysis program or to learn more about RealCost, please contact the Office of Asset Management at 202-366-0392.

Office of Asset Management
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, HIAM-1
Washington, DC 20590
Tel. 202-366-0392
Fax 202-366-9981

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®
Updated: 10/19/2015
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000