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60062-1 Report Abstract

A Case Study Application of a Computerized Full-Cost Analysis Model for Evaluating Urban Passenger Transportation

Michael Martello, Jose Weissmann, Jiefeng Qin, and Mark Euritt, University of Texas at Austin, February 1998, 24 pp. (60062-1)

Transportation improvement alternatives on the US 59 Southwest Freeway corridor are evaluated from the full-cost, life-cycle perspective for the Houston/Galveston Area Council (HGAC). The alternatives involve facility improvements as well as vehicle occupancy improvements. Findings suggest that the current facility will not be able to service the projected peak-hour traffic demand; and after running MODECOST – a computer model based on the full-cost analysis concept, developed by the authors – the results showed that travelers bore a significant amount of external costs, including congestion costs and air pollution costs. The annual life-cycle cost savings from the reduction of external costs and users/agency costs can more than offset the cost of initial investment for expansion of the current facility.

This case study shows that in many instances, external costs and user/agency costs are more relevant than the initial capital investment in the facility. Expanding the current facility to add general purpose lanes or HOV lanes to accommodate ride-sharing and special transit service reduces the external costs and user/agency costs, which in turn reduces the system life-cycle costs of the facility.

Keywords: Full-Cost, Multimodal Evaluation, Transportation Investment, MODECOST

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Reference Report #60062-1