Wisconsin Reliability and Benefit-Cost Update


SRF was retained by WisDOT to upgrade the Department’s benefit-cost procedure. This process featured two primary objectives: first, to develop a predictive travel time tool that considers both recurring congestion as well as nonrecurring congestion caused by weather, crashes, and incidents. Second, the benefit-cost analysis procedure was rebuilt from the ground up to ensure its conformance to all applicable industry standards for economic evaluation of transportation investments. In addition, the refined travel time and benefit-cost tools were implemented in an enhanced graphical user interface, providing an intuitive experience for basic-level analysts and seamless integration of the travel time results to the benefit-cost engine.

The travel time tool was developed through extensive research of diverse datasets including traffic volumes, GPS probe speed data, weather records, and crash and incident reports. This information was compiled into a unified database and records with unique combinations were isolated for detailed analysis. The resulting data were used to assess the relationship between travel demand and travel time under each condition on a number of roadway types. The frequency of the events were also used to predict future probabilities of nonrecurring conditions based on forecast traffic volumes. The travel time and benefit-cost tools were ultimately used to evaluate major highway capacity investments for prioritization of state construction funds.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation