Economic Evaluation of Pavement Management Decisions
The Washington State DOT (WSDOT) was an early pioneer in the implementation of pavement management, starting with pavement condition data collection in 1969, and the establishment of a computerized pavement management system in the late 1970's. WSDOT performs a Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) for all new pavement structures, and existing pavements requiring reconstruction. A 50-year analysis period is used to consider all maintenance and/or rehabilitation activities anticipated over the life cycle analysis period. The LCCA performed when selecting a pavement type for a new pavement structure is a long-term analysis, based upon the best available information at the time the decision is made. But, it is not an operating plan that lays out the pavement treatment decisions for the next 50 years. The focus of this paper is the economic evaluation of pavement management decisions made in year-to-year operations, which are based on analyses at the performance period level. The use of economic evaluation techniques such as Cost Effectiveness Analysis, Replacement Analysis, and Break-Even Analysis is essential in making pavement management decisions, and can result in substantial cost savings. Even a one-year extension in pavement life through the use of cost-effective pavement treatments can have significant benefits. The information provided by the economic performance measures are shown to be critical for the efficient planning, prioritizing, and programming of pavement asset management activities.