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Budgeting performance-based winter maintenance: snow influence on highway maintenance cost
Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, CBI Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute, Stockholm.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Infrastructure Systems, ISSN 1076-0342, Vol. 15, no 3, 251-260 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Swedish contracting of winter maintenance is combined with weather-regulated payment since the beginning of the 1990's. It reduces the weather risk for the contractor and has helped performance-based specifications to find acceptance. The performance-based approach was introduced to save costs and create incentives for innovation. Theory and practice are often unconnected since the mathematical links are lacking behind the political rhetoric around performance-based contracting. This study attempts to bridge some of the gap between theory and practice by linking a climate factor, snow, to highway maintenance costs. To handle the complexity of weather, an iterative process was assumed necessary, with simplification as a first step. An answer was achieved to the two research questions: which stations correlated best with costs and what the winter maintenance cost would be, given the snowfall at these stations. Once having achieved this answer under simplified circumstances (one weather parameter, one region, few observations, linear relationship), the assumptions were relaxed, one after the other, in second and third iterations, to increase the generalizeability of the method and the results. Maintenance cost and weather data of Washington state were used. The method can be used anywhere where the actual costs of the maintenance are known. In countries and regions with privatized highway maintenance, like in Sweden, British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, the actual costs are not public. The lessons learned from this study may therefore be of particular interest to such privatized systems. The study supports that the Swedish road weather information system stations are in the right spots and proposes snowfall to weather regulate the payment to the contractor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 15, no 3, 251-260 p.
Keyword [en]
Budgets; Contracts; Costs; Highway and road management; Infrastructure; Maintenance; Snow; Actual cost; Alberta; British Columbia; Budgets; Climate factors; Highway and road management; Highway maintenance; Infrastructure; Iterative process; Lessons learned; Linear relationships; Maintenance cost; Ontario; Performance based specifications; Research questions; Road weather information system; Theory and practice; Washington State; Weather data; Weather parameters; Winter maintenance; Budget control; Contractors; Costs; Highway administration; Highway engineering; Privatization; Risk perception; Roads and streets; Snow; Snow and ice removal; Transportation; cost; infrastructure; maintenance; motorway; snow; weather station; winter
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-24153DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)1076-0342(2009)15:3(251)ISI: 000269061200012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-24153DiVA: diva2:344351
Note
QC 20100819Available from: 2010-08-19 Created: 2010-08-19 Last updated: 2010-08-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Promoting Innovation in Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance: Incentives Contracting and Performance Based Specifications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Promoting Innovation in Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance: Incentives Contracting and Performance Based Specifications
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Knowledge of what action that is needed to drive innovation at a desired speed is in demand in civil engineering and its related maintenance. 1. What measures to stimulate innovation have been tested? 2. How much innovation has been achieved by contracting? 3. How much innovation was achieved by performance-based specifications? 4. How can cost models contribute to innovation? Methods include qualitative and quantitative methods that have been timed and mixed to optimize their merits. Sweden, France, USA and Canada have used as research ground.

Technology transfer, multi-criteria evaluation, variant bidding, idea mailbox, weatherregulated payment, contests and earmarked funds for innovative projects were some of the method beside and within contracting and performance-based specifications that have been tested.

Contracting as such has cut costs in Sweden but not in North America. Neither Sweden nor North America has noticed any increase of innovation, rather the contrary. The savings have primarily been achieved by cuts on staff and by using standardized, less expensive and less advanced machinery. Contracted highway maintenance provinces in Canada and Sweden on average had about 50 % higher costs than inhouse provinces and Washington State. The difference is reduced to 26 %, when corrected by weather and the higher traffic in the contracted provinces. Prestige, politics and competitivity made it difficult to extract economic data from private contractors, and even from the public owners and may explain the contradictory results in previous studies. The internally driven innovation appears small and incentives to innovation weak in inhouse systems, but contrary to expectation even less in contracted systems.

Performance-based specifications (PBS), such as Design-Build (DB), have reduced delivery times and kept the budget better than traditional contracts, but quality, lifecycle cost and technical progress was rarely analyzed and even less confirmed in the literature, why a multiple case study was carried out. The result was that three out of four PBS cases delivered lower quality in the long run or showed higher costs already on the opening day, when compared to a traditional contract alternative.

Cost models contribute to innovation by making regions with different conditions comparable and provide tools for rational planning and decision making. One model for how highway maintenance costs depend on snow, bridges and traffic and one model for how bridge maintenance costs depend on size and age were elaborated. Models included in contracts, e.g. to allow a contractor to reduce the weather risk, appear to have contributed to a more successful contracting rollout in Sweden than in Canada.

France provides experience of how inhouse innovation contests and industry-own patent-like routines can promote innovation. After the first two years with an incentive contract, Banverket received 10 % better quality measured as train delay and 20 % better quality measured as the number of technical errors at no cost. A lesson learnt is that the success of performance-based specifications depends on how well the owner can describe and define the contracts, how compliance is measured and how deviations are handled, i.e. how the contractor is penalized for non-fulfillment or awarded for excess delivery

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2007. 32, 13 p.
Series
Trita-BKN. Bulletin, ISSN 1103-4270 ; 2007:91
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4311 (URN)
Public defence
2007-03-23, Sal F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100819Available from: 2007-03-15 Created: 2007-03-15 Last updated: 2012-02-21Bibliographically approved

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