Developing a Performance Measurement Approach to Benefit/Cost Freight Project Prioritization

PI: Kenneth Casavant (WSU)
Co-Investigators: Starr McMullen (OSU), Anne Goodchild (UW), Edward McCormack (UW), Eric Jessup (WSU)
Dates: 06/01/2012 – 10/31/2014

Current project prioritization methodologies used by DOTs often do not specifically include freight benefits of projects and they have not taken advantage of new data made available by GPS technology (instead they depend on modeled data). This project will investigate the use of performance data for the emerging freight project prioritization methodology, primarily through the investigation of minimum performance standards and ongoing performance evaluation to develop a prioritization methodology that recognizes the impact of investments on overall freight system performance. The Washington State Department of Transportation has a well-developed benefit/cost methodology for long-standing programs supporting the Legislature’s policy goals for safety, preservation, environmental issues, and mobility. This project will finalize and test important methodological elements to improve freight project prioritization. It will also exploit new data sources for performance measurement, therefore addressing key weaknesses of the current approaches.

GPS data will be used to evaluate current network performance (travel time and travel time reliability) against minimum performance standards. We will also investigate methods to estimate future performance using current performance data, blending it into the benefit/cost methodology currently being developed by several project team members.

The project will result in cost-benefit analysis framework tool, supported by truck travel data collected from GPS devices, designed to be used by public transportation agencies in the Pacific Northwest. The project will also result in a final recommendation for a benefit/cost methodology and a set of recommendations for how WSDOT can integrate performance management (primarily GPS data based), with project prioritization process (including benefit/cost analysis) for freight projects.

PacTrans-WSU-Casavant-Kenneth-Project Update-2012-M-0004

Final Project Report: PacTrans-4-WSU-Casavant