A work zone management system with real-time traffic information on I-496 in Lansing, Michigan had a benefit-to-cost ratio of 2:1.

14 March 2001
Lansing,Michigan,United States

Summary Information

In Lansing, Michigan a planning study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of implementing real-time work zone traffic information during a freeway construction project on I-496. The study used the Tri-County Regional Travel Demand Model (TCRTDM) to estimate traffic conditions on the local network and estimate the impacts of providing traveler information in the work zone by factoring in the level of improvement observed in other metropolitan areas. The author cited previous research that showed crashes could be reduced by 15 to 18 percent, travel time could be reduced by 20 percent, incident delay could be reduced by 50 percent, and emissions could be reduced by 15 percent.

The study applied the benefits observed from previous research to the TCRTDM, but decreased the input benefit factors by 90 percent since the study area included only the I-496 construction work zone project area and not the entire transportation network. The author noted that the only difference between the previous research and this study was the duration over which the benefits and costs of the system were calculated. The construction project was expected to last one year.

The study converted the estimated benefits from ITS deployment along the I-496 work zone to dollar values for comparison with the costs of the system. This involved estimations, drawn from previous research, of the costs of crash fatalities and injuries, travel time delay, and fuel and emissions. The costs of the system were derived from Michigan DOT records on the tabulation of contractor bids for the proposed project. All of the benefit values and costs of the system were inflated using a three percent annual growth rate to bring their net present value to 2001 dollars.

The results of the benefit analysis are shown below:
  • Fatality Reduction - $1,000,000.
  • Injury Reduction - $4,600,000.
  • Normal Travel Time Delay Reduction - $410,000.
  • Incident Travel Time Delay Reduction - $564,000.
  • Emissions Reduction - $2,250,000.
  • Fuel Consumption Reduction - $1,050,000 (based on $1.50 per gallon, and 21.5 miles per gallon fuel economy).

The results of the cost analysis are shown below:
  • System Costs - $2,500,000 (cost of real-time information components).
  • Opportunity Costs - $2,500,000 (cost of lost opportunities for other projects).

The real-time traffic information component of the work zone management system was estimated to cost $1,900,000. (No other detail was provided on the components of the real-time information system.) In addition, the costs for project design, contract administration, and construction engineering were estimated at $600,000. Overall, the cost to design the system, furnish and install hardware and software components, and operate and maintain the system for the duration of one year was estimated at $2,500,000. In addition to the system cost, the cost of lost opportunities to implement other transportation projects were accounted for. This lost "opportunity cost" was simply the cost of the system (i.e., $2,500,000). Overall, the cost of the deployment was estimated at $5,000,000.

Overall, the results were positive. A benefit-to-cost ratio was calculated by dividing the benefits of the system (i.e., $9,874,000) by the overall cost of the deployment (i.e., $5,000,000) to yield a benefit-to-cost ratio of 1.97 and a net benefit of $4,874,000.


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A Benefit-Cost Analysis for the Use of Intelligent Transportation Systems Technology for Temporary Construction Zone Management on the I-496 Reconstruction in Lansing, Michigan

Author: Kratofil, Joseph A. Jr.

Prepared for Louis A. Reibling, Ph.D. in Partial Completion of the Degree of Master of Science in Administration, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

Source Date: 14 March 2001

EDL Number: 13591



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smart work zone systems, smart work zone, smart work zones, Smart work zones, workzone, WZ

Benefit ID: 2007-00308