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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > November 2002 > FHWA Workshop Introduces New Life-cycle Cost Analysis Software
November 2002Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-012

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FHWA Workshop Introduces New Life-cycle Cost Analysis Software

With the introduction of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) software and an accompanying instructional workshop, highway agencies can now more quickly and easily calculate the life-cycle costs of pavement design alternatives. Developed by FHWA's Office of Asset Management through the intra-agency LCCA Developer's Group, the new software identifies cost differences between design alternatives, accounting for both initial and future agency and user costs. Each of the alternatives compared will provide the same level of service and performance.

To run the program, which performs both deterministic and probabilistic modeling, a user must enter the estimated costs for the initial construction and any future rehabilitation of the asset and the period of serviceability (i.e., time between construction and rehabilitation). The software also requires basic traffic data inputs such as annual average daily traffic, capacity, and hourly traffic distribution. The program automates FHWA's user cost methology as well, which accounts for user costs incurred while work zones are set up. This methodology is described in Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design (Publication No. FHWA-SA-98-079). Both the user cost methodology and the new software have been adopted by the forthcoming American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' 2002 Design Guide as the way to perform LCCA.

The LCCA software runs in MS Excel 2000 and has an easy-to-navigate graphic user interface. The program produces both text and graphic outputs that can be exported for presentations. Users have the choice of working with either a spreadsheet or a form interface.

Aerial photo of highway
FHWA's new life-cycle cost analysis software allows highway agencies to more easily calculate the life-cycle costs of pavement design alternatives.

States can gain hands-on experience with the software at the new FHWA LCCA workshop, which presents the basics of how to conduct an LCCA and how to apply the results to pavement project design decisions. The workshop premiered on August 28-29, 2002, in Denver, Colorado. FHWA's LCCA Developer's Group, which includes representatives from the Office of Asset Management and FHWA's four Resource Centers, presented the workshop to the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT), as well as representatives from the New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah highway agencies.

"The course was well received and is very user friendly," says Jay Goldbaum, a Professional Engineer with the Colorado DOT. "We have a strong interest in Colorado in probabilistic life-cycle cost analysis and this was a great course for getting into that process. The hands-on aspects were particularly useful.""We're already seeing high demand for this workshop," adds Tom Canick of FHWA. To date, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, and Virginia have requested workshop sessions.

For more information on LCCA, to obtain a copy of the software, or to schedule the workshop, contact Nat Coley at FHWA, 202-366-2171 (email: nathaniel.coley@fhwa.dot.gov). Copies of Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design can be obtained from the FHWA Research and Technology Report Center at report.center@dot.gov.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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