Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Austroads has published a report that outlines a framework to help assess the value of maintenance and renewal works, consistent with capital investments.
There is an increasing need to demonstrate the value for money for all types of expenditure as governments are facing growing budgetary pressure. While there are established economic evaluation frameworks for evaluating transport capital projects, a framework for evaluating road maintenance expenditure is not commonly used, making it more vulnerable to budget cuts.
Cost benefit analysis (CBA) frameworks have been developed for three distinct road asset functional groups, namely:
- the road surface and related features, which provides road users with a smooth and pleasant trip, and a safe road network
- bridges and other structures, which allows roads to be built in places that would otherwise not be possible, thereby increasing the routes available to road users
- navigation and guidance related features, such as traffic lights and line markings, which help road users navigate the road network in a timely and safe manner.
The CBA frameworks are designed to measure the trade-offs decision makers are implicitly making when determining the appropriate level of road maintenance expenditure. That is, maintaining a higher level of service will lead to improved outcomes, such as faster travel speeds and fewer accidents, but will also require additional cost.