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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Xiao Qin


This study was designed to review state-of-the-practice road user cost (RUC) calculations, evaluate current SDDOT methodology, propose improvements and implement them in a new analysis worksheet for use by SDDOT. This report includes an extensive literature review and the results of targeted surveys for regional state DOTs with regard to RUC methodologies, a comparison between current SDDOT methodology and proposed measures and resources, a sensitivity analysis of proposed changes, and development of the SD-RUC tool, an Excel spreadsheet-based application. Two RUC modules were developed (project planning and project construction), with methodology comprised of three components. The RUC components include vehicle operating costs (VOC), value of road users’ time (VOT), and accident costs (AC). The evaluation of RUC in these capacities included a sensitivity analysis of incremental changes to unit costs in these components as well as case studies to determine the changes in user costs due to the new methodology.The results of the analysis indicated that the differences between the current methodology and the proposed methodology can be attributed to changes in unit cost, changes to methodology, and the inclusion of AC. The sensitivity analysis suggests that the contributions of RUC components in the project planning and project construction analysis can be ranked differently. The difference is attributed to the selection of unit costs which include both vehicle operating and ownership costs for the project planning purposes and only vehicle operating costs for project construction purposes, resulting in a higher value for planning VOC. The proposed methods address the diversity and complexity of different planning and work zone scenarios, improve the consistency and accuracy of RUC estimation, and are implemented through an Excel based worksheet.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Roads -- South Dakota -- Finance
User charges -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 154-156).



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted