2019 Presentations

Title: Freight, Reliability, and ATDM In Benefit-Cost Analysis for Selection and Performance of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Projects and Strategies: TOPS-BC 3.0

Authors: Michael Lawrence, Jack Faucett Associates; Mathies Wahner, Jack Faucett Associates; Jonathan Skolnik, Jack Faucett Associates; James Hunt, FHWA; Ralph Volpe, FHWA, Thomas Kearney, FHWA; Jeffery Prudy, FHWA

Description of Project and Role of Economic Analysis in Project Selection: Economic analysis is a critical component of the comprehensive project or program evaluation methodology that the FHWA Office of Operations is supporting for all key quantitative impacts of Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) investments. These benefit-cost and life-cycle analysis techniques allow highway agencies to identify, quantify, and assign a value to the economic benefits and costs of highway projects and programs over a multi-year timeframe. 

Elements You Want to Highlight:  The FHWA Team has been conducting BCA Workshops at State DOT and MPO for the past four years.  Workshops demonstrate the use of the TOPS-BC Excel tool producing BCA for about twenty-five TSMO strategies including Active Traffic Management (ATM), freight operations strategies, incident management, and others.  The TSMO and Road Weather Management (RWM) BCA Compendiums offer reviews and analysis of over 40 BCA case studies conducted by regional, county, city, and state transportation agencies.  The proposed poster and handouts would highlight the application of economic analysis by transportation planning and operating agencies all across the country.

Economic Analysis Methodologies Used:  The case studies demonstrate the use of many BCA tools including TOPS-BC, IDAS, TIMBC, CALBC, and bca.net as well as numerous spreadsheets developed by agencies.  The analysis includes BCA and LCC.  Examples cover benefit analysis using the latest SHRP II reports including quantification of project benefits such as time savings, reliability, safety, energy, emissions, and others.  TOPS-BC 3.0 includes new freight and ATM strategies as well as data from SHRP2 reports, the new Highway Capacity and Safety Manuals.

Key Findings/Conclusions:  Transportation planning and operating agencies recognize the need for economic analysis of TSMO project and strategies for both ongoing planning and to be able to argue the project benefits as compared to traditional infrastructure investments.