Models

Models can be helpful in organizing data about a project and in calculating and evaluating its benefits and costs. A range of software products is available, primarily developed with government support. The seven listed below are representative. For details and information on obtaining the software, click its name.

Please note that some of the tools listed here are "vintage" and have not been upgraded or modified in ten or fifteen years. Some of the models are no longer sponsored or supported by their initiating agency.


TREDIS - A web-based model to conduct economic development impact evaluation and benefit-cost analysis for transportation investments.  TREDIS covers multiple modes (e.g., highway, bus rail, aviation, and marine) and is applicable for freight and passenger projects.  The model and documentation are available on-line at http://www.tredis.com.

BCA.Net - A web-based benefit-cost analysis tool developed by FHWA to support highway project decision-making.  BCA.Net lets users compare preserve and maintain versus new build strategies for roadway projects.  Users can specify multiple segements each with unique physical and projected traffic characteristics.  BCA.Net facilitates the analysis of projects with multiple intersections and interchanges.  Risk analysis reports and charts support informed decision-making in the face of significant uncertainties.   The model and documentation are available on-line at http://hwbca.net.

Cal-B/C, developed by Caltrans, is an easy-to-use Excel spreadsheet for benefit-cost analysis of highway and transit projects in a corridor that already contains a highway facility or a transit service. Highway projects may include HOV and passing lanes, interchange improvements, and bypass highways. Transit improvements may include enhanced bus services, light-rail, and passenger heavy-rail projects. Default data are given for California conditions.  A second model, called Cal-B/C Corridor, allows the analysis of projects using output data from travel demand models and micro-simulation models.  The Cal-B/C models and documentation are available on-line at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/offices/ote/LCBC_Analysis_Model.html.

MicroBENCOST is designed to analyze seven types of highway improvements in a corridor: (1) capacity enhancement, (2) bypass construction, (3) intersection or interchange improvement, (4) pavement rehabilitation, (5) bridge improvement, (6) highway safety improvement, and (7) railroad grade crossing improvement. Highways may contain HOV facilities.

STEAM is a model designed to assess multi-modal urban transportation investment and policy alternatives at the regional and corridor levels. Transportation system alternatives may include up to seven modes. Peak and off-peak periods and multiple trip purposes may be considered. The model is closely linked to outputs from the 4-step urban transportation modeling process.

HERS-ST is a system-level optimization framework for analyzing investment strategies to maintain and improve an existing highway network. New highway construction is not considered. The program automatically generates candidates for highway improvements, which may be combined with user-specified improvements. It then determines the best combination of projects. HERS is closely linked to the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS).

StratBENCOST is a strategic-level evaluation method to analyze investment alternatives for expanding and improving a highway system. A particular strength of this model is its explicit consideration of the random nature of input parameters. New highway projects as well as improvements to existing highways may be considered. Non-highway modes are not considered. The program is used to compare an investment alternative to a base condition, which may be another investment alternative. The program can perform either a single-segment analysis, with or without induced traffic, or a network-level evaluation with traffic diversion, the latter typically requiring linkage to the 4-step transportation modeling process.

North/West Passage ITS BC is a spreadsheet for use when one or more ITS devices (DMS, RWIS, CCTV, Traffic Detection) are being considered and a benefit/cost calculation is needed for the deployment.

You can also download a spreadsheet from this website (35kb xls here or bottom of page) that contains a generic benefit-cost model, into which you can put your own benefits and cost estimates and your desired discount rate. The same spreadsheet can be used for sensitivity analysis by varying inputs.

Other Models

Listed below are a number of other evaluation tools not described in detail on this website:

ABC - A Microsoft Access application that implements FAA procedures for benefit-cost analysis of airport projects, and also maintains a database for comparing groups of proposed projects in a State Airport System Plan. Additional information is available on-line at http://www.edrgroup.com/products/aviation-tools/.
GRADEDEC.NET - Under continuous development and support from FRA, GradeDec.Net is a web-based benefit-cost analysis tool for the investment analysis of highway-rail grade crossings.  GradeDec.Net can be accessed at http://gradedec.fra.dot.gov.
IDAS - A tool to perform benefit-cost analyses of projects involving Intelligent Transportation System technologies. Additional information is available on-line at: http://idas.camsys.com/.
IMPACTS - A group of spreadsheet applications for screening-level evaluation of multi-modal corridor alternatives, including highway and transit improvements, HOV lanes, toll facility conversions, demand management proposals, and bicycle lanes. Inputs are demand estimates by mode for each alternative. Software and documentation are available on-line at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/steam/impacts.htm.
NET_BC - A tool to perform benefit-cost analysis of alternatives based on outputs from the 4-step urban transportation planning modeling process. More information is available on-line at: http://www.blainc.com/traveldemandmodeling.htm (under Project-Specific Travel Demand Modeling).
RAILDEC - A strategic decision-support tool for evaluating rail and rail-related intermodal projects. More information is available on-line at: http://www.hdrinc.com/15/14/default.aspx and at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/pnv4n2.htm.
SCRITS - A spreadsheet application for estimating user benefits of Intelligent Transportation Systems at the sketch planning level. SCRITS provides a highly approximate subset of the capabilities found in IDAS. Software and documentation are available on-line at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/steam/scrits.htm.
SMITE - A Lotus 123 spreadsheet application to evaluate urban highway expansion at the sketch planning level, considering both induced and diverted traffic. Software and documentation are available on-line at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/steam/smite.htm. A variation of the program (SMITE-ML) for evaluating managed lanes is available at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/steam/smiteml.htm.
SPASM - A spreadsheet application for multi-modal corridor analysis and evaluation at the sketch planning "screening" level of detail. SPASM is a predecessor of and may be considered a crude version of STEAM. Software and documentation are available on-line at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/steam/spasm.htm
WSDOT Mobility Project Prioritization Process - A spreadsheet application that supports the analysis of a variety of highway projects.  Software and documentation are available at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/mapsdata/travel/mobility.htm.
 
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TRB Committee Site Admin,
Nov 22, 2009, 6:26 PM