About the research
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) requires the states to develop and implement a transportation asset management plan (TAMP) for their National Highway System (NHS). This is to improve not only the condition of the bridges in service, but also the functionality of the entire system. Life-cycle cost and risk management analyses are the main analyses expected to be included in a state’s TAMP. For all the NHS bridge projects that receive federal assistance with an estimated total cost of $40 million or more, states are to perform LCCA as part of the value engineering study. The life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) can be defined as “a process for evaluating the total economic worth of a usable project segment by analyzing initial costs and discounted future costs, such as maintenance, user costs, reconstruction, rehabilitation, restoring, and resurfacing costs, over the life of the project segment” (TEA 21-1998). The LCCA is believed to be an effective tool to compare the total user and agency cost of competing project implementation alternatives. This is because it offers a cost-centric approach to select the most cost-effective alternative to accomplish a preselected project at a specific level of benefits assumed to be equal among all the project alternatives being considered. The main idea behind the LCCA is that transportation investment decisions should consider all of the costs incurred during the period over which the alternatives are being compared rather than just looking into the initial costs.
The State of Iowa has started the efforts to include risk management analysis into the TAMP. As a complementary step, there is a need for the development of the next generation of the LCCA (Next-Gen LCCA) tool, which is expected to (1) cover the most common types of bridges in Iowa, (2) integrate the available historical data from past inspections to the predictive models, (3) take into account the cost of maintenance and repair during the service life, (4) provide a manageable approach to include indirect costs in the analysis, and (5) deliver the capability to pair with the AASHTOWare BrM Bridge Management System and/or the Structure Inventory and Inspection Management System (SIIMS).