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Cost Estimating

AASHTO Practical Guide to Cost Estimating (2013)
This publication provides practical guidance that serves those charged with the development of DOT cost estimates and with the management of the estimating process. This guidebook discusses key cost-estimating techniques and cost management activities. It conveys to the reader that cost estimating involves not only the collection of relevant factors relating to the scope of a project and the cost of resources, but it also requires anticipating cost impacts that may occur due to changes in project scope, available resources, and national and global market conditions.

NCHRP Report 625 (2009) (PDF)
Procedures Guide for Right-of-Way Cost Estimation and Cost Management FHWA Major Projects Cost Estimation Guidance

U.S. Government Accountability Office Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide (March 2009) (PDF)
The purpose of this document is to address generally accepted best practices for ensuring credible program cost estimates (applicable across government and industry) and to provide a detailed link between cost estimating and Earned Value Management (EVM). The basic information in the Cost Guide includes the purpose, scope and schedule of a cost estimate, a work breakdown structure; ground rules and assumptions; data collection and estimation methodologies; software cost estimating; sensitivity and risk analysis; EVM and the composition of a competent cost estimating team.

NCHRP Report 574 (2007) (PDF)
Procedures for Cost Estimation and Management for Highway Projects During Planning, Programming and Preconstruction

Major Project Program Cost Estimating Guidance (January 2007)
This guidance is for the preparation of a total program cost estimate for a major project. For the purpose of this guidance, a major project is defined as a project that receives any amount of Federal financial assistance and has an estimated total program cost greater than $500 million (expressed in year-of-expenditure dollars), or other projects identified as a major project by the FHWA. The total program cost estimate includes construction, engineering, acquisition of right-of-way, and related costs, which will be identified by this guidance. Although this guidance is for major projects, it may also be applied to other projects.

Cost and Oversight of Major Highway and Bridge Projects - Issues and Options (2003) (PDF)
This document contains the highlights of GAO-03-764T, a statement for the record for the Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, and Independent Agencies, House Committee on Appropriations. This statement for the record summarizes cost and oversight issues raised in reports and testimonials that GAO has issued since 1995 on major highway and bridge projects and describes options that GAO has identified to enhance federal oversight of these projects.


Notable Practices

Florida DOT Inflation Factor (March 2014) (PDF)
Florida DOT annually develops an inflation factor based on their highway construction cost index to be used by MPOs in developing the documents.

Ohio DOT Online Calculator
Ohio DOT requires projects to be inflated to the mid-point of construction through an online calculator.

Washington State DOT Highway Construction Cost Trends
Washington State DOT has developed a construction cost index from the bid data collected from construction projects.

FHWA Resources

National Highway Construction Cost Index (NHCCI)

Highway Construction Cost / Inflation Issues

Price Trends for Federal-Aid Highway Construction (2006)

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