Given the aging of highway pavements, high traffic levels, and uncertainty of sustained preservation funding, there is a need for balanced decision-making tools such as LCCA to ensure long-term and cost-effective pavement investments. With driving forces such as ISTEA 1991, the NHS Act of 1995, and TEA-21, LCCA enables evaluation of overall long-term economic efficiency between competing alternative investments and consequently has important applications in pavement design and management. It has been shown in past research that more effective long-term pavement investment could be made at lower cost using LCCA. Current LCCA-based pavement design and preservation practice in Indiana could be further enhanced by due consideration of user costs. Also, the existing FHWA LCCA software could be further enhanced for increased versatility, flexibility, and more specific applicability to the needs of Indiana, particularly with regard to treatment cost estimation and development of alternative feasible preservation strategies (rehabilitation and maintenance types and timings). The study documented/developed several sets of alternative pavement design and preservation strategies consistent with existing and foreseen Indiana practice. The preservation strategies were developed using two alternative criteria – trigger values (pavement condition thresholds) and predefined time intervals (based on treatment service lives) and are intended for further study before they can be used for practice. These strategies were developed on the basis of historical pavement management data, existing INDOT Design Manual standards, and a survey of experts. The study also found that with a few enhancements, FHWA’s current LCCA methodology and software (RealCost) could be adapted for use by INDOT for purposes of decision support for pavement investments and proceeded to make such enhancements. The resulting software product (RealCost-Indiana) is more versatile, flexible and specific to Indiana practice. The enhancements made include a mechanism by which the user can estimate the agency cost of each pavement design or preservation activity on the basis of line items and their unit rates, and a set of menus showing default or user-defined strategies for pavement preservation. Other enhancements made to the software include improved graphics, enhanced reporting of analysis results, and capability to simultaneously carry out analysis for more than two pavement design and preservation alternatives. A User Manual was prepared to facilitate the use of the enhanced software, and a Technical Manual was prepared to provide for the user a theoretical basis for various concepts used in the software. The enhanced LCCA methodology and software are useful for (i) identifying alternative INDOT pavement designs, (ii) identifying or developing alternative strategies for pavement rehabilitation and maintenance for a given pavement design (iii) estimating the life-cycle agency and user costs associated with a given strategy, (iv) comparative evaluation of alternative pavement designs. The enhanced methodology and software are applicable to existing pavements in need of some rehabilitation treatment, and also for planned (new) pavements. Future enhancements to the LCCA methodology and software may include a way to duly penalize parsimonious preservation strategies that are presently not adequately penalized for their resulting inferior pavement condition over the life cycle.

Report Number



Life Cycle Cost Analysis, Pavement Design, Pavement Maintenance, Pavement Rehabilitation, Agency Cost, User Costs, SPR-2712

SPR Number


Project Number


File Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version