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Thursday , February 22 , 2018
BCA.Net

The NEED:

Accessible tool supporting the benefit-cost analysis of proposed highway projects

The growing requirements for highway investments and constrained fiscal resources point to the need for a tool to facilitate the benefit-cost analysis of highway investments. Surveys of available tools show the need for an easy-to-use tool that incorporates recent research findings to enhance the accessibility of highway project benefit-cost analysis to the practitioner.

The CHALLENGE:

The absence of accessible and straightforward tools for highway project benefit-cost analysis incorporating state-of-the-practice methods prevents timely and informed decisions for alternative highway development strategies (i.e., build vs. maintain).

 

FHWA commissioned DecisionTek to develop BCA.Net - Highway Project Benefit-Cost Analysis System. You can access BCA.Net at http://hwbca.net.


The above screen shot from BCA.Net shows one of its results reporting formats.

The DecisionTek Solution

Development of a web-based, decision support tool that evaluates the economic merits of pursuing alternative multi-year improvement and maintenance programs for highway projects.

About BCA.Net

Highway Benefit-Cost Analysis with BCA.Net

This web-based decision support tool assists Federal, State and local authority decision-makers in evaluating the benefits and costs of highway projects. The BCA.Net system enables users to:

  • Manage the data for an analysis
  • Select from a wide array of sample values
  • Develop cases corresponding to alternative strategies for managing highway facilities 
  • Evaluate and compare the benefits and costs of improvements; 
  • Provide summary indicators for informing resource allocation decisions. 

Based on user-provided project information, BCA.Net forecasts the transportation and non-transportation effects of highway investments and maintenance strategies, and estimates the economic value of these effects over the useful life of projects in dollar terms.

The computational approach in BCA.Net allows the user to develop unitary, point estimates (e.g., single values) for the result metrics. Alternatively, the user can use the risk analysis features of BCA.Net to develop probabilistic inputs and results. The probabilistic method is a way of explicitly handling the uncertainty associated with some of the analysis inputs (e.g., forecast growth) and its impact on the analysis results. Probability functions describe the probabilistic inputs, which convey the range of likely inputs and the likelihood of their occurrence. Risk analysis allows for the simultaneous computation of differing assumptions for many different variables. The results of a risk analysis are presented as probability distributions, rather than point estimates. These risk analysis outcomes promote informed decision-making that accounts for both the downside risk and upside potential of candidate projects.

BCA.Net includes an array of charts and reports that enable the user to:
  • Interpret results
  • Refine analyses
  • Develop risk-mitigating contingencies

BCA.Net’s underlying methodology is consistent with the current benefit-cost methodologies employed by the FHWA. The model is transparent in all of its assumptions and the model inputs are readily accessible to users who may want to adjust model inputs to reflect local circumstances.

BCA.Net is designed to minimize the data needs and technical expertise required of the user while at the same time providing analytical flexibility and reliable benefit-cost results.

View BCA.Net at http://hwbca.net

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