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Criterion Details

PD-02 Lifecycle Cost Analyses

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Project Development Scorecard

  • Paving
  • Rural Basic
  • Urban Basic
  • Rural Extended
  • Urban Extended
  • Custom Core


Reduce life-cycle costs and resource consumption through the informed use of life-cycle cost analyses of key project features during the decision-making process for the project.

Sustainability Linkage

Triple Bottom Line

Conducting a life-cycle cost analysis supports the environmental and economic principles by promoting efficient use of materials and resources. 

Background & Scoring Requirements


Per FHWA’s Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Primer1, “Life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is an evaluation technique applicable for the consideration of certain transportation investment decisions. Specifically, when it has been decided that a project will be implemented, LCCA will assist in determining the best— the lowest-cost—way to accomplish the project. The LCCA approach enables the total cost comparison of competing design (or preservation) alternatives, each of which is appropriate for implementation of a transportation project. All of the relevant costs that occur throughout the life of an alternative, not simply the original expenditures, are included. Also, the effects of the agency’s construction and maintenance activities on users, as well as the direct costs to the agency, are accounted for.”

LCCA considers all agency expenditures (including planning, engineering, design, construction, maintenance, operations, and administration costs) and user costs (including time, safety, fuel, and other vehicle operating costs associated with normal operations and work zone delays) throughout the life of an alternative, not only initial investments. 

Scoring Requirements

Requirement PD-02.1

1-3 points. Complete Life-Cycle Costs Analysis/Analyses

Complete calculations for LCCA of key project features in accordance with generally accepted engineering economics practices. Comparing multiple design alternatives is encouraged but not required. Scoring is based on the following, cumulative requirements.

  • Requirement PD-02.1a

1 point. Perform LCCA for Pavement Structures Alternatives

Perform an LCCA of all pavement structure alternatives considered in accordance with the method described in the FHWA’s Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design - Interim Technical Bulletin2. This may be completed manually, or by using the FHWA’s free RealCost software3, or any equivalent software. This requirement may also be accomplished by using pre-determined pavement designs based on context-specific best practices that are part of a formal Pavement Management System if the pavement design was established based on LCCA analyses (e.g., if within a specific region it has been determined through LCCA analyses that a specific pavement type/mix is most appropriate for bus lanes).

  • Requirement PD-02.1b

1 point. Perform LCCA for Stormwater Infrastructure Alternatives

Perform an LCCA of all stormwater infrastructure alternatives considered. This analysis should include costs for planning; design; initial construction; maintenance including appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) maintenance; and operations. With respect to BMPs, careful consideration should be given to factors such as frequency of scheduled maintenance, chronic maintenance problems (e.g., clogging), and failure rates that add to the overall cost of BMP implementation.

  • Requirement PD-02.1c

1 point. Perform LCCA for Major Features

Perform an LCCA of the project’s major feature (bridges, tunnels, retaining walls, or other items not listed in the preceding options) for each of the alternatives considered. For bridges, perform an LCCA in accordance with the guidance in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 483 – Bridge Life-Cycle Cost Analysis4. The report provides standard input values for a wide range of potential bridge projects and referenced sources for other input data. LCCA software may be used, including RealCost, with some minor adjustments to the spreadsheet or a bridge LCCA may also be completed by hand. 


The following resources are referenced in this criterion and consolidated here:

  1. FHWA, Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Primer (2002) at
  2. FHWA, Life-Cycle Cost Analysis in Pavement Design - Interim Technical Bulletin (1998), Publication No. FHWA-SA-98-079 at
  3. FHWA, RealCost software, at
  4. NCHRP, Report 483 – Bridge Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (2003) at

Case Studies & Criterion Examples

Arizona DOT - Using INVEST to Integrate Sustainability: The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) decided to use all three modules of INVEST – System Planning, Project Development, and Operations and Maintenance – to help the agency meet its sustainability goals across the transportation life cycle.  ADOT used INVEST to integrate and advance existing sustainability efforts and to push forward new efforts.  INVEST’s comprehensive sustainability framework and criteria helped ADOT institutionalize sustainability across the agency and with local partners through inclusion in manuals, trainings, and awards.  This case study focuses on ADOT’s use of the Project Development module.

RIDOT - Optimizing Economic, Social, and Environmental Sustainability in Project Planning: RIDOT used the INVEST, Version 1.2 Project Development (PD) module to evaluate the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of its Dexter Street rehabilitation project. After the Dexter Street roadway project was completed in July 2016, RIDOT determined that assessing the sustainability of its project development and construction process would provide substantial value to the project team and the agency by helping to guide future projects in a more sustainable direction. Specifically, RIDOT used INVEST to identify areas of strength in its current project planning and construction process, as well as areas in need of improvement. By highlighting and noting the criteria that did not achieve full scores for the Dexter Street project, RIDOT is now in a better position to improve on these areas for future projects.

Arizona DOT - Sonoran Corridor Study: In February 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) initiated an environmental review process for the Sonoran Corridor, which would connect Interstate 19 and Interstate 10 south of the Tucson International Airport. A Corridor Selection Report (CSR) and Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were prepared as part of this process in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other regulatory requirements. The project objective is to identify an appropriate and approximate 2000-foot corridor for a future roadway that would be subject to a detailed design and a Tier 2 environmental review to identify a final roadway alignment and necessary project mitigation treatments. At the direction of ADOT, this case study evaluates processes and methodologies used for development of the Sonoran Corridor Tier 1 EIS compared to INVEST guiding principles.

Scoring Sources

The project is considered to have met this criterion if the requirements above can be reasonably substantiated through the existence of one of the following documentation sources (or equal where not available):

  1. Calculations for the LCCA, including a summary of inputs and outputs. 
  2. A copy of the owner-agency policy on LCCA if one exists. 
  3. Calculations for the LCCA performed as part of a Pavement Management System process to set best practice pavement designs.