By Dennis Polhill

Few people dispute the importance of efficient transportation in an open and free society. As individuals gain in personal affluence, they willingly allocate a portion of their new wealth to increased mobility and freedom. As long as the wealth of society increases (both collectively and on a per capita basis), demand for transportation that efficiently responds to the individual needs of people will increase.

Until the creation of the gasoline tax in 1956, government was unable to respond to the demand for paved roads. The gasoline tax provided appropriate user fee financing. The access to land and the mobility that paved highways offered caused real estate to escalate in value. Free movement of goods and services provided greater access to a wider variety of options and increased market competition helped to lower costs to consumers. The direct benefit to the economy of construction of the 40,000 mile interstate highway system was at least five dollars for each dollar spent on construction. Highway construction adds value via mobility to existing economic generators. When highways are constructed where there are no preexisting economic generators, no economic development benefits result because there are no markets or resources to access. This is a reasonable test for the viability of transportation projects. If mobility and access are improved, the benefits of the project can be balanced against the costs.

The advent of the gasoline tax was simultaneous with the Federal Highway Trust Fund. As interstate highway construction progressed and the power of the gasoline tax was recognized, use of the trust fund was expanded. Federal matching share increased. Funds became more readily available for appurtenances, relocations, environmental, archeological, safety, and other project considerations. Subsequently, trust fund moneys became available for an expanded federal aid system, off-system projects, and maintenance. The trust fund has also been accessed to subsidize other transportation modes: mass transit, aviation, railroads, waterways, and bike paths. Last, but not least, the gasoline tax user fee has been accessed by Congress to finance a portion of the national debt. So the original concept of a user fee for transportation has been greatly expanded and co-opted. The gas tax has become part user fee and part tax based on consumption.

Currently the Colorado tax is $.22 per gallon and the federal tax is $.183 per gallon for a total of slightly over $.40 per gallon. If an average vehicle gets 20 miles per gallon, the user fee is $.02 per mile. However, users have a degree of control over their tax rate. Some own vehicles that get 40 miles per gallon and thus pay only $.O1 per mile user fee. Some get less than 10 miles per gallon and pay $.04 per mile user fee. Advocates of other-than-auto transportation quickly point to subsidies from other sources that go to highways. The Brookings Institution estimates these subsidies at about $22 billion per year nationwide, slightly less than $.O1 per mile. Rush hour traffic congestion points to the fact that not all vehicle-miles traveled are equal. A rush hour vehicle-mile is more valuable than a non-rush hour vehicle-mile.

Heavy vehicles do not pay their fair share of highway costs as measured by structural damage to the facility. A vehicle that weighs twice as much produces 16 times as much road damage (2 to the 4th power). Similarly, due to the fee structure, there is little incentive to avoid overloads, unbalanced loads, or to configure vehicles to mitigate damage. Conversely, truckers argue that autos do not pay their fair share of the highways since they are few compared to the many that consume the capacity of the system.

Mass transit advocates argue that highway taxes should pay for mass transit because congestion is relieved when commuters ride mass transit. Because transportation economics has been contorted by the distortions of subsidies, it is difficult to rationalize logically the role of mass transit in the entire picture. Without massive public subsidies to mass transit, it could not survive. Mass transit ridership nationwide continues to decline in spite of massive subsidies. Currently, ridership is less than 5 % of all commuters. Roughly 5 % of commuters walk to work and 15 % use carpools. It is unlikely that a system of fixed routes and fixed schedules can meet the needs of an increasingly diverse, mobile, affluent, and unconstrained population. It is, however, clear that economic distortions and subsidies to highways work to the disadvantage of viable mass transit. A public policy that subsidizes highways to the detriment of mass transit and then requires additional taxpayer subsidies to mass transit to offset the damage is not rational.

Transportation is a private good, wherein the benefits accrue primarily to an individual. Thus, transportation is a service that receives public subsidy inappropriately. Historically, it has been virtually impossible for aspects of transportation to recover their costs in user fees. However, recent technological advances make it feasible to assign the true cost of transportation services more directly to those who benefit.

The gas tax as a user fee may be inadequate and obsolete. ISTEA (the 1991 Federal Transportation Act) liberalizes the use of congestion pricing, weight-distance
fees and toll roads. As society moves in the direction of free market governance, such fees can be expected to evolve into common usage. The sooner Colorado comes to recognize the future condition, the sooner Colorado can capture the benefits that a more liberal free market approach can yield.

By Dennis Polhill

In 1986, Colorado drivers were paying a gasoline tax of $.12 per gallon. Since then, the tax has gone up 83 % to $.22. Over that same period, what has happened to the condition of our highways?

Roads have gotten progressively worse to the point where many have the look and feel of a third-world nation. By the state’s evaluation, in 1987, 18% of our roads were in “poor” condition. Five years later, in 1991, after all of that extra money was spent, had our poor roads improved? Not exactly-in fact, 42% of our roads were judged “poor.”

Colorado’s highway system is 78,043 miles long. The distribution of operation and maintenance responsibilities is:

Colorado State Department of Transportation 9,160 miles
Colorado’s 267 cities 10,725 miles
Colorado’s 63 counties 58,158 m

Road Mileage Distribution

Colorado’s condition monitoring system is limited to a good-fair-poor visual rating performed by each of the 331 entities that share the Highway Users Trust Fund (HUTF). HUTF is funded by Colorado’s gasoline tax which is currently at $.22 per gallon – 20% above the national average state gasoline tax of $.1832 per gallon. Money drawn from HUTF is based on a formula established by the State Legislature that accounts for condition, miles, and population. Local entities have wide latitude on how to use HUTF funds, including planning, design, construction, maintenance, appurtenances, and the assumption of bonded indebtedness. The $.22 per gallon tax generates $505,900,000 per year which is currently shared: $248,100,000 to CDOT; $95,100,000 to counties; $61,000,000 to cities; and $101,700,000 to bridges, overhead, and miscellaneous.The trend in surface condition of the State highway system has not been reflective of the increased funds available.

Surface Condition
Surface Condition

1987 1988 1989 1992 1921
Good 42% 42% 41% 32% 21%
Fair 40% 38% 41% 40% 37%
Poor 18% 20% 18% 28% 42%

 The proportion of roads in poor condition has increased from 18 % to 42 % (a 133 % increase). The proportion of roads in good condition has decreased from 42 % to 21 % (a decrease of 50%). In other words, over twice as many roads are in the poor category and half as many roads are in the good category. In spite of the significant increase in revenues for roads, condition has plummeted. The probable cause is that the resources are not being managed efficiently.Colorado’s gasoline tax was below the national average until 1986. In 1986, it was increased 50% (from $.12 to $.18). Subsequently, the gasoline tax was raised to $.20 in 1989 and to $.22 in 1991 (roughly 10% more each time). The total increase from 1986 through 1991 was from $.12 to $.22. This $.10 increase represents an 83.3 % increase in just six years.

Colorado’s Gas Tax

The idea of pavement management grew from the infrastructure crisis of the 1980s. Pavement management recognized that:

  1. Limited resources are available for maintenance.
  2. Pavements, like all physical facilities, deteriorate at an accelerated pace as they age.
  3. Maintenance can be applied at appropriate times to extend life, sustain service levels, and reduce long term costs.
  4. Computer technology and sophisticated mathematical techniques can be employed to manage massive amounts of data and seek optimal application of resources (i.e., maximum benefits for minimum cost).

The potential benefits of such management systems are enormous. Nationally about $15 billion per year is spent on maintenance. Few governments use pavement management systems; however, most experts agree that at least 50% of the $15 billion is lost due to inefficient use of resources. This, of course, is only a fraction of the total cost. Because the roads operates at lower service levels, car repair is greater; delay and travel time is greater; accident and personal injury is greater; and less comfort or service is supplied to the customer at a higher fee. The costs of all of these factors combined total several hundred dollars per capita per year.

Sophisticated management systems are most quickly adopted by the most professional and least political governments. These governments tend to be those with the shortest chronological history and the most limited bureaucracy. Thus, the most innovative governments tend to be cities with populations between 50,000 and 250,000 people. State agencies, which often must lead, cannot lead because of their entrenched decision making structure and tradition. Colorado is no exception. The Colorado Department of Transportation has been very slow to recognize the benefits of pavement management systems and to attempt to capture benefits. In recent years, CDOT has begun the regular and consistent collection of some condition data over the full extent of the CDOT portion of Colorado’s highway network. Far more work is needed to evolve this data into a full fledged management system.

Without the benefit of pavement management systems, it is very tempting to apply the cosmetic approach to highway maintenance. That is, thin overlays that make roads look new for the short term-until after the next election. Long term benefits are sacrificed. The following graph provides an understanding of pavement performance, serviceability, and the benefits of properly timed maintenance.

Pavement Life Cycle

  • Area “A” represents the service benefit of a thin overlay placed at time “A” on a pavement’s life cycle.
  • Area “B” represents the service benefit of the same thin overlay placed at time “B” on a pavement’s life cycle.
  • NOTE: In both cases the benefit is the relative area under the respective curve.

Since the cost of “A” and “B” are the same, it is clear that “A” is the wiser choice. “A” produces far more benefit than “B.” As the graph illustrates, pavement maintainance earlier in the pavement life cycle produce much more long-lasting road quality improvement than the same maintainance later in the pavement life cycle.

What may have happened in 1986 when more money was available for roads, pressure to show immediate results motivated a public policy of mismanagement in which resources were applied for effect rather than for results. A fully functioning pavement management system would have helped to avoid this public policy error.

The other trap that policy makers fall into when they do not have the information that pavement management systems provide, is that money is diverted from maintainance and into construction. The result is that a politician gets to cut a ribbon in the short term. In the long term user fees have been diverted to subsidize growth on the urban fringe and maintenance has been deferred and will cost more money latter.

By Stephen Mueller & Dennis Polhill

Executive Summary

In March 1993, the Independence Institute published an Issue Paper titled Stop that Train, which contented that the plans ofthe Regional Transportation District (RTD) to bulid a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system throughout the metro area were flawed. The Issue Paper suggested that expanded use of special traffic lanes for buses and carpools (HOV lanes) would be a more cost-effective method of improving mass transit.

RTD published a 28-point reply to the Stop that Train paper, arguing that the issue paper made numerous factual errors. The RTD response is a commendable effort to engage in factual debate, and plays a constructive part in the process of public education on the light rail issue. But although RTD makes some constructive points, many of RTD’s defenses of metro-wide light rail are unpersuasive. This new Independence Paper, Stop that Train: Part II, analyzes and responds to each of the 28 points made by RTD.

In short:

  • Ignoring all facts to the contrary, RTD claims the cost per rider will be $2.50, lower than any LRT system built anywhere.
  • Though RTD publications and RTD board members stated that the MAC light rail line was to be used as a demonstration, RTD now claims that the notion of a demonstration line was not “official policy.”
  • RTD assumes that the federal government will provide 80% of the construction funding. However, Washington has provided only 44.5% of costs for other similar programs around the nation; and the pressure to balance the federal budget suggests that federal transit subsidies will not increase, and may decline.
  • When all the facts are analyzed, special lanes for buses and carpools are more cost-effective than light rail. When Houston abandoned light rail for bus and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, Houston Mayor Bill Lanier explained, “HOV lanes cost us less per mile than rail by a good bit, and they move more people…. not only transit passengers but also those people able to double up or triple up in cars to form car pools.”

Entire Paper: Stop That Train Part II- A Reply to RTD (PDF)

By Stephen R. Mueller P. E. and Dennis Polhill P. E.

In Brief:

  • RTD is pushing a major public relations campaign to build an expensive light rail transit (LRT) system in southwest Denver, and eventually the whole metro area.
  • In nine US cities that constructed LRT projects, actual costs exceeded projections and ridership fell short of projections. Actual cost per rider exceeded projections by an average of 5.4 times.
  • Contrary to RTD ‘s claim that LRT is the least expensive of several alternatives, LRT is about 1o times as expensive as building dedicated highway lanes for buses and carpools.
  • The MAC demonstration project carried a promise to the people that LRT could be observed in operation for two years before a proposal for an enlarged system would be advanced. RTD has an obligation to honor this promise.

Entire Paper: Stop that Train: RTD’s Light Rail Boondoggle is on a Fast Track for Disaster (PDF)

The Colorado Leader October 10, 1992 … also published in the Haxtun Herald, Haxtun, CO on Oct. 14, 1992

MAC: What’s the bottom line?

By Dennis Polhill

An upcoming vote by the Denver Regional Council of Governments will determine whether the Denver Metro area, spends hundreds of millions of dollars on a failed idea, or if a policy of fiscal responsibility will guide our transportation dollar.

The Metro Area Connection, or MAC, is a light rail system that the Regional Transportation District desires more than anything else. The initial cost for the Five Points to Auraria MAC demonstration line is $100,000,000, and will be paid for by a use tax windfall. RTD’s idea that light rail is the key to Denver future is at best naively optimistic.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal stated, “Anyone who still thinks that fixed rails…to be navigated by public-employee crews paid premium wages is the most effective means of circulation in a modern city gets an “F” in urban planning.”

Typically, there would be dozens of questions that would have to be answered before such a project gets started. Amazingly enough, the opinions from transportation professionals have barely registered a blip on the debate radar screen.

Before we jump head first into what could very well be a bottomless pit of government spending, perhaps we should have a few items analyzed.

First, if the purpose of developing a mass transit system is to decrease traffic jams, isn’t it foolish to consider a project that the RTD admits will not relieve traffic congestion during peak commuting periods”?

Second, the proposed MAC vehicles may be able to achieve speeds of 65 mph, however, the distance between stations will only allow an average operating speed of 18 mph. Not exactly a convenience when you calculate all of the time you spend getting to the fixed-rail, and the distance you have to cover once you get dropped off.

Third, the proposal claims air quality gains, but other cities have found essentially no environmental benefits with their fixed rail systems. Any possible air quality improvements can be achieved through different and much less expensive means.

Fourth, experiences in other cities which have developed rail systems since 1970 demonstrate an alarming trend of high cost overruns which require additional tax dollars to keep the system operating. And with an estimated operating cost of $8.75 per ride, our local government will have to do a lot of subsidizing!

Fifth, the MAC demonstration won’t accurately demonstrate demand for the system because there will be no direct charge to the rider. Commuter choices are based on comparisons of cost and convenience, not on abstract values. How then will the RTD be able to determine the how, when, where, and why questions about expansion?

Finally, the $100,000,000, as mentioned before, comes from a use tax that as levied on products purchased outside the RTD boundaries, but used primarily within the district. Is light rail the best use of this money? These dollars could provide better bus services, they could fund the development of other critical transportation needs (E-470 or the northwest parkway), they could finance more carpool lanes, better highways, and other projects metro wide. Instead,’ RTD has decided to pour all of it into a fixed rail system that accesses a little used corridor. They have failed to realize that increased highway use is an indication of the need for them, not a sign of their failure.

If we’ve learned one thing during this year’s election cycle, it’s that the voters in this state, as well as the nation, demand the most bang for their buck. The $100,000,000 in taxes collected by the RTD is money that has been taken out of the local economy for a project that can best be described as a white elephant. Denver Mayor Wellington Webb has even speculated that downtown companies would suffer due to the extensive construction. If, in fact, this money is burning a hole in the pocket of RTD bureaucrats and light rail is merely a way to get rid of it, I strongly encourage them to consider the other transportation needs in the metro area, or give a rebate of $5 to every man, woman and child in the district. My guess is that the citizens will spend it wiser than the RTD.

Mr. Polhill is Chairman of the infrastructure Task Force at the Independence Institute, a Golden based think tank.

Willard Price
PhD School of Business and Public Administration
University of the Pacific

Dennis Polhill
MPW Pavement Management Systems Denver

Presented at
the 1990 Regional IX Conference of the American Society for Public Administration Honolulu, Hawaii
October 8, 1990

For submission to
the Journal Public Productivity and Management Review
October 1991

The objective of this research is to examine methods for public works maintenance investment decisions. Beyond initial capital choices using benefit-cost analysis, this paper explores performance measures to observe the physical condition and performance levels over the life of infrastructure systems. Given adequate information, alternative investment policies or maintenance strategies (prevention, rehabilitation and reconstruction) can be compared using performance levels and costs.

A general approach is presented for examining infrastructure systems and maintenance investment choices, with an example drawn from pavements. A discussion of the analytical process of maintenance management systems is provided in terms of required information, decision rules and optimization models Since public works managers are inundated by consultants with computer packages purporting to assist with infrastructure policy making, this article provides managers with a basis for criticizing maintenance management packages and their role in investment decisions.

Infrastructure Maintenance Investment: Beyond the Benefit-Cost Analysis
Today the word infrastructure is the popular usage for what has been known for most of our history as public works. While these two terms can be used interchangeably, conceptually a distinction will be drawn between infrastructure as the physical
platforms used to serve our communities and public works as the public agencies which own and deliver services at all three levels of governments. Infrastructure systems are normally owned by public agencies, often operated as public enterprises with
some degree of independence from parent governments. A portion of these systems are owned and/or operated privately, some water and transit agencies and almost all electrical distribution even though power systems are also provided by federal or local
government enterprises.

Examples of these physical infrastructure systems include:

  • Highways, streets, sidewalks, lighting and curbs and gutters
  • Water resource systems, water supply and sewage treatment
  • Flood control systems, storm drains, channels and dams
  • Solid waste systems, collection and disposal resources
  • Transport systems, airports, seaports, mass transit, and tunnels
  • Public buildings, grounds and parks
  • Equipment, vehicles, pumps, treatment facilities
  • Electrical, natural gas and telecommunication networks

These are systems that are widely available to the general public, although similar systems are developed by the military and many private industries on their own property and at their production plants and facilities. the focus here are those public works wholly owned by governments and planned, delivered and financed through public institutions.

Public works has historical connotations of public investment for the wrong reasons, that is “pork barrel” rewards by elected representatives to local constituents, for political tradeoffs among legislative members or as employment patronage. Such negative images of public works have clearly been overblown and have overshadowed the massive contribution that public works investment has provided for urban, regional and national growth, for the public health, safety and convenience.

The goal of this research is to focus on the management tasks of professional engineers and managers who deliver desirable and necessary public works platforms for commerce and public activity. The maintenance investment levels these managers recommend, not for the traditional capital decisions on new facilities, but for continuing repair, rehabilitation or reconstruction, are the policy decisions in question. These ought to be reviewed as economic investments decisions as is any infrastructure expenditure in the private sector.

Public works facilities have grown significantly during the last 40 years, with investment financed by local/state government debt, by federal/state grants to local agencies and by economic growth and general taxation of urban and suburban communities. This growth was strong during the period of 1950-1975, with almost all governments having the fiscal capacity to finance the infrastructure developments and adequately cope with maintenance burdens. Investment was justified by cheap debt, legal debt capacity, federal largesse and the ability of local/regional governments to realize increased property/sales tax revenue, sufficient to pay for debt retirement, the local share of capital costs and a lifetime of maintenance costs.

Now we are faced with a new reality, the results of drastic shifts in the environment of government. Economic stress caused by an oil crisis, massive inflation, unfathomable tax increases and a political reversal that found a welcome audience for a decreased role of the public sector in the lives of citizens. The impact on public works was a dual threat created by an aging infrastructure, some originally built 100 years ago, and a maintenance budget neglect stimulated by financial scarcity and deliberate cutbacks in the expenditures of governments in the 1970s and 1980s.(1)

Deferred maintenance is politically and physically acceptable because an immediate effect is not felt: Yet this neglect is insidious. As these facilities age they physically decay and provide less capacity and service to users and slowly but surely the public is faced with an increased risk of failure, delay, accident and injury. The stress of competing priorities has left public works agencies with “hypofunding” at exactly the wrong time in their life cycle.

Traditional Public Works Investment Decisions
While public works investment decisions are the choices of government leadership based on the recommendations of public works managers, political preferences as well as concepts of economics have impacted investment. Since the 1930s, investment decisions for new public works facilities have sought to base budgeting decisions on the technique of benefit-cost analysis. Considered by engineers, managers and legislators alike to be an appropriate method for comparing projects, benefit-cost has the neutral objective of maximizing the net payoff of benefits and costs that can be measured in dollars.

It is an intoxicating method, for the initial understanding of the analysis easily convinces one the investment decision that chooses the highest present value of the net cash flow is surely the most rational act for public decision making. Given the acceptability of the benefit-cost logic, the method has been mandated by some federal statutes for federal program projects as well as categorical/project grants to state/local governments. Of course, analysis of a flood control or transportation project does not always insure projects across all public works functions are compared or insist certain areas/regions be neglected if their benefit-cost ratios were low or less than one. Obviously, imbalances between highways and flood control development would not be practicable solely on the basis of the highest benefit-cost projects for all infrastructure, let alone other public programs. Government is not simply maximizing total wealth as a private enterprise would do, but instead it is required to Provide a set of infrastructure necessary for community life
whether or not the best investment return is realized. But given limited resources, the goal of economic rationality may become more desirable for public investment.

In spite of the inference above, it is not the intention of this paper to challenge the use of benefit-cost analysis in infrastructure capital development. None-the-less, there are
both strengths as well as potential in such economic analysis.(2)

Arguments that justify benefit-cost:

  1. Utility of benefits and costs are compared as dollars
  2. Time value of money is expressed by present values
  3. Discount rate is chosen as the best opportunity rate for alternative use of the resources
  4. Net present value calculations can compare projects and determine whether projects should be funded at all

In sum, the analysis can take the capriciousness out of decisions.

Dangers that decrease the value of benefit-cost, even create risk with its use:

  1. Benefits must be reduced to dollars, neglecting some utility that cannot be measured easily with dollars
  2. Benefit calculations are often implied and can be exaggerated
  3. Possible alternative actions are easily neglected
  4. Discount rates affect results of the analysis, slower rates can help justify investments

In sum, the analysis can be misused to support predetermined preferences.

Another issue in capital decisions is how maintenance costs and choices are included in the analysis of public works projects? Commonly an estimated cost for maintenance is included in the benefit-cost calculations over the life of the project. There is some doubt as to whether a serious understanding of maintenance burdens over the life of the facility is developed at the time the capital decision was made. More likely a simple estimate is developed with little thought of alternative maintenance strategies or alternative designs that affect maintenance requirements and costs over time.

In benefit-cost analysis, cost estimates are thought to be more accurate and honest than benefit data. Benefit measurements may well be implied or imputed and contain data which is often subjective and uncertain. For maintenance costs, inaccuracy and uncertainty may creep into the analysis because a serious exploration of the maintenance management task has not been attempted at the early stage of new facility development.

In spite of new infrastructure construction in may parts of the nation, for the most part of public works task is shifting from capital development to maintenance of a decaying infrastructure where planned useful lives of many facilities are being exceeded. As systems decay, capacities are decreased and failures become more frequent. The result is a public not able to finance the necessary rehabilitation to protect their interests and decrease their risks.

Infrastructure Management Today
A thoughtful essay prepared by Royce Hanson entitled “The Next Generation in the Management of Public Works” challenges us to recognize a generation of public works management where the “management of the capital stock will be more important than
adding to it.” He admonishes public works managers:

“Engineers and public works directors think of themselves as builders, not maintainers and managers. They live capital-intensive fantasy lives. Replacing the ‘edifice complex’ with a passion for management will require major changes in the education and acculturation of those who lead public works organization and those who educate them.”(3)

A premise of this research is that the task of maintenance management has not been well developed in the field of public works management. Hanson explains the maintenance immaturity as follows:

“Maintenance has fared poorly in public management for several reasons. There are no well-defined standards …it is hard to measure the impact of preventive and regular maintenance programs-construction has a strong constituency… maintenance has weak public support. The effects of poor maintenance are insidious but slow to become obvious… maintenance is usually supported from general operating revenues and must compete with other higher visibility services… it is, therefore, an easy budget item to cut or constrain …since the effects …are unlikely to show for several years.”(4)

Given this challenge, the purpose here is to comprehend the maintenance management task facing public works managers, to address the methods of analysis used by those at the cutting edge of maintenance technology and to prepare managers for the consultants trying to assist agencies with the management needs for more sophistication in infrastructure maintenance decisions.

Public Works managers have significant choices as they commit resources to maintenance of existing facilities. Several maintenance strategies are available and the management task is to determine which strategy should be applied with what frequency throughout the life of infrastructure systems. A simple set of alternative interventions is listed below, from routine and repetitive preventive maintenance to major and infrequent reconstruction:

  1. Preventive maintenance and inspection of facilities: cleaning, clearing, protecting
  2. Periodic repair of weaknesses or failures: patching, filling, correcting
  3. Rehabilitate or to refurbish: overlay, reline, or reapply
  4. Reconstruct part or all of the system: remove and reconstruct or replace

Managers normally rely on their past practices and intuition with these systems to decide which maintenance strategies are appropriate for each budget cycle. They are faced with political pressure to select particular segments of the infrastructure network for immediate attention, while they have a professional obligation to uniformly and fairly serve user needs. In either event they may not choose an optimal allocation of resources in economic terms or by any other performance standard. A simple economic analysis may not consider the actual utility of system performance to the jurisdiction, because such performance measures can go beyond dollar benefits to more elaborate measures of capacity/convenience, safety/injuries and strength/failure risk which are not easily measured in dollars.

If works managers seek a more sophisticated method, then a “maintenance management system” which includes a technical evaluation of infrastructure performance history, a prediction of system performance under different maintenance strategies and costs can allow a more optimal allocation of maintenance dollars. This does not mean managers’ intuitive should not enter the investment decisions. The collective experience, knowledge and judgment of public works maintenance manager can be captured via “expert systems” and used as input to investment decisions. The ultimate decision ought to be made after seeing the evidence of a maintenance management which can integrate an expert system into the analysis.

The following description captures the momentum of academics, consultants and practitioners who are already engaged in maintenance management systems.

Maintenance Management Systems(MMS)
Public works will need a maintenance management perspective to meld with a capital investment plan. Non-growth communities as well as those cities with aging infrastructure are increasingly obligated maintenance and rehabilitation. Royce Hanson suggests the opportunity for public works managers:

“Faced with less money to replace facilities, managers have begun to perfect their maintenance regimes …with the availability of analysis units, computers and other advanced technology, managers are moving from 2nd generation preventive maintenance programs, based on regular cycles of inspection to condition-based systems that can target maintenance efforts more precisely to areas of greatest need. A number of jurisdictions are also developing guidelines based on analysis of levels of risk to set work priorities and to improve on targeted systems”(5)

A comprehensive MMS allows questions to be fully and analytically examined. What is the best combination of alternative maintenance strategies? Does increased preventive maintenance decrease the frequency of periodic repair? Will more frequent rehabilitation extend the life of the facility and lower the life time cost to the owner? Are minimum performance standards being met regarding capacity, safety and structural integrity? What is the expenditure required each year to obtain the minimum life cycle cost for the desired system performance?

Given accurate initial costs, coupled with life cycle maintenance expenses, public works managers can provide rational recommendations for needed infrastructure investment.

Yet design choices also affect maintenance decisions. Decisions in the design process may reduce the overall maintenance cost or may suggest different maintenance
interventions than expected or traditionally performed by public works managers. It may be better to increase capital costs to save in the long term, defensible only with more elaborate analysis.

MMS goes beyond minimizing cost to include measurement of infrastructure system performance expected with maintenance intervention. Over the last decade an approach to maintenance management has evolved that replaces simple dollar measures of infrastructure benefits. A comprehensive measure of condition and performance can be chosen and observed over time. Engineering studies will predict performance decay rates under usage and maintenance choices. Analysis can then compare maintenance polices to maximize performance for a minimum cost or a predetermined budget.

The following procedure details a generic method for conducting a MMS. It can be applied to any infrastructure system, be it roadways, embankments/levees, channels, pipes,
buildings or equipment. A specific discussion of pavements will be introduced later since roadways have received the most frequent application of MMS methods to date.

A General Maintenance Management Procedure

  1. Assuming the physical system is in place, gather relevant information on its layout and characteristics. Also identify maintenance assumptions in design regarding expected life and planned usage.
  2. Define service parameters for any infrastructure system. Multiple variables can be chosen and integrated into a comprehensive effectiveness measure. Selected parameters may include capacity, comfort, safety and structural integrity. These variables should represent the utility of performance as preferred by the owner jurisdiction, influenced by professional standards. These performance measurers may evolve over time and may include more complex engineering analysis. Generally, an integrated performance measure will be a simple multiple attribute model as shown:


    Where Xi are parameters for quality of the service and Wi are weightings or coefficients chosen by the agency in concert with engineering analysis.

  3. Observe the current condition of the system in terms of the performance parameters. Ideally a history is available to help predict future performance with a particular maintenance strategy for the actual system under its unique environmental and usage conditions.
  4. If an agency’s own performance history is not available because they have not kept necessary records or have not tested their systems with alternative maintenance configurations, they must rely upon research studies which have tested comparable systems under similar environmental situations and demands.(6) Then engineering analysis allows a prediction of performance with different maintenance choices. A conceptual model for expected performance decay and maintenance interventions with minimum standards is demonstrated below:(7)
  5. Given the performance variables and the predicted performance of maintenance programs, it is possible to make choices as to maintenance investments in the short term and long term. The method of selecting projects or areas of your network for interventions can range from a simple ranking procedure to a complex optimization technique. A representation of this analytical continuum follows:
    a) List all projects needed to achieve minimum acceptable performance levels and select by least cost or a heuristic criterion
    b) Rank projects by total performance achieved over time (area under performance curve) and accept all those within the budget
    c) Rank cost effectiveness or total performance area divided by cost for all projects and select within budget limits
    d) Select optimal combination of projects based on performance area and costs, using a mathematical model
  6. Implement the desired investment policy over several years through a work scheduling and control system. Establish an information system to record data on the resources expended on maintenance projects (actual costs of equipment, labor and materials), including productivity data. Conduct surveys on facility condition to verify predicted performance. This validation step also provides information to revise the methodology in subsequent years.

Measurement of Present Serviceability

Applying Maintenance Management to Pavements
Pavements are a common usage of MMS because they exist everywhere, in highways, bridges, streets, airports/seaports and parking lots. Pavements represent a large portion of public works investment than any other pubic facility. Pavements provide direct, immediate economic benefit to the concern unity, thus they receive the fist and most attention.

It is relatively easily to observe and feel the physical conditions of pavements and the public may demand quick fixes to the potholes, cracks and rough surfaces. Many research and professional organizations have done much on pavement maintenance strategies but this research has received minimal development and application. Public works mangers need to learn how to put these ideas and research results into practice.(8)

To begin a pavement management system(PMS) the search for performance measure is the initial step. The research have established a very similar integrated performance measure or present serviceability index(PSI).(9) This approach integrates several parameters into an overall performance measure. For instance:

PSI = f(riding comfort, skid resistance, structural strength, visual condition)

Riding quality or comfort had correlate well with PSI according to AASHO highway research.(10)


Major Types of Pavement Outputs

These individual parameters can be weighted according to the choice of agency. To some managers the strength parameter is more important to their decision making.

On the bases of engineering research pavement serviceability can be related to technical design measurements. Without presenting the precision mathematical expression, the following function has been developed empirically:(11)

PSI = f(pavement structure, regional climate factor, soil support value, number of design axle loads)

Agencies must find the commitment to observe the chosen parameters over the usage history of their pavements. While this is a task they ought to be able to conduct themselves, most will need to be trained. Some smaller communities may continually need assistance.(12)

Predicting performance of a pavement under environmental conditions and usage is essential, yet by far the most technically demanding part of PMS. It is beyond this paper to capture the engineering research and analysis involved in establishing the relationship with pavement overlays, patching, seal coating or reconstruction and the expected performance over time after maintenance actions. This is a critical part of this method and will depend on an engineering analysis and past research results. Significant research has been conducted and agencies, together with consultants in PMS, will need to rely on the work of the Army Corps of Engineering and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.(13)

To help comprehend the analysis involved in pavement management investment choices, a simplified example from the book by Haas and Hudson is presented.(14) Performance curves and cost calculations are shown on the figures which follow. The example proposes 3 alternative rehabilitation strategies, essentially using different pavement overlay thickness. The performance profiles in the first figure displays the rates of performance decay expected, which would be based on surveys and research information.

Analysis of Pavement Management Investment Choices

Summary of Cost Calculations for Three Sample Alternative Pavement Rehabilitation Strategies

In this example the utility of serviceability has been converted to reduced costs to users. These benefits or cost savings are different for the 3 alternative strategies. This approach requires the agency or their consultant to convert improvements to reduced costs. But the credibility of this conversion remains questionable and further work must be done to develop adequate information to convince managers and political leadership. All agency and user costs are then discounted to present values, very much like a benefit-cost approach. While the figures demonstrate the cost analysis, the risk of faulty calculations of user costs remains.A preferred approach because of the weakness of benefit or cost savings calculation would not assign dollar values to pavement performance but would maximize the level of PSI over the life of the facility, choosing the strategy with the largest area under the PSI curve.(15)

In this case, the objective would be the maximum performance for the minimum cost over some period of time. This could be achieved analytically by ranked comparison of the performance-cost ratios for a finite number of alternative maintenance treatments within a given budget: A more elaborate approach could use an optimization model like linear programming to provide the maximum performance for a mix of projects within a budget constraint or another version of a LP model would minimize total cost over time, constrained by required minimum serviceability levels across part of all of the network.

Choices for conducting a PMS and its required engineering studies and management analyses are the responsibility of the public works manager. Before making a budget recommendation, each manager ought to comprehend methods, data requirements, performance variables, research inputs and determine the staff and computer resources needed to complete the process.

Critical Questions for Maintenance System Managers
From the perspective of the public works manager, several questions and related policy issues are addressed. The following arguments are ordered according to the generic MM procedure introduced before.

  1. How is the agency’s infrastructure system performance being measured? Let it be a conscious choice of the management and not simply an acceptance of an engineering text or computer program. Of course, for any performance measures chosen, it must be possible to relate maintenance strategies and to decay of the system serviceability over time.
  2. Historical records of infrastructure systems provide a necessary start toward understanding MMS and achieving an analysis which is rational. Given the technical sophistication and an era of privatization, most will need to hire a consultant to survey systems, train staff and conduct analysis. While taking advantage of the consultant’s experience, can public works agencies develop the internal skills to gather information, comprehend the approach and the analysis and build the computer data bases needed?
  3. Since the most difficult part of the process in the determination of performance decay rates for systems under different maintenance applications, most agencies will need to rely on research of others and use consultants to develop these relationships. Managers can become technical critics at this stage, using their engineering and administrative staff to insure understanding and prevent domination by technicians and consultants.
  4. Decisions about the economic or analytical methods used to finally choose a set of maintenance projects is the burden of public works managers. In reality, many agencies will choose a simple ranking of projects by cost, possibly with some heuristic rule for selecting projects within the budget constraint. A simple approach results for a variety of reasons. First simplicity readily allows political input: second, managers may not understand the methods: third, data availability may limited analysis and, finally, the cost of elaborate analysis is often unacceptable? Managers need to recognize their obligation to choose the method used to select projects when they enter into an agreement with a consultant.
  5. Project cost control is always desirable for budget responsibility, but a valuable payoff of a comprehensive cost accounting record goes beyond fiduciary control. Such data is essential to provide information to validate MMS decisions. Were the costs predicted in design or in the maintenance decision stage accurate? This same control system can include observation of infrastructure facility serviceability, also critical to validation of the MMS methodology.

An Inundation of Consultants
At every turn, public works managers have opportunities to acquire a consultant’s service to assist them with a MMS, for almost every infrastructure system they manage. The APWA package called PAVER can be an alternative to consultants. (16) During the preparation of this article, MMS consultants contacted were quite hesitant to share information about their methods and computer packages. They do consider the information proprietary and welcome the purchase of services to get access to their computer program.

An argument for open sharing of computer packages is not being made. Since most public works organizations could not accomplish maintenance management without consultant assistance, the availability of consultant services and their price will affect usage. Since wider use is encouraged, some means need to be developed to distribute the potential of MMS to the broader public works community at a reasonable cost. Hopefully, this manuscript will contribute to that end.

Nonetheless, there are some issues to be raised as practitioners are considering consultant packages. Managers who consider consultant services are acquiring both a method of determining maintenance investment, as well as a computer package for handling data, conducting analysis and producing reports.

To begin, any computer package ought to be judged by at least these criteria:

  1. What hardware storage capacity and processing speed is needed?
  2. How does the program interface or network with existing information systems and formats in your organization?
  3. Is the program user friendly, does it contain menus for clear options and ease of execution?
  4. Is the personnel training required kept to a minimum, are manuals available?
  5. Is technical assistance readily available and at what cost?
  6. Does the program accomplish the needed tasks you had predetermined?

As important as these initial questions, there are further issues managers face with MMS:

  1. onsidering the balance between the agency’s own efforts and those of the consultant, can the agency minimize costs with certain tasks completed by agency staff? Field testing, data collection and even report generation may be done in house, serving to increase the knowledge of the agency and reduce costs.
  2. Can the agency adapt the program to fit special needs and existing information systems? It is acceptable if the agency’s present project, work schedule and cost accounting record systems must be recreated in the format of the consultants’ computer package?
  3. Are there options used for comparing performance and costs when selecting maintenance strategies and work projects? This critical part of maintenance investment recommendations is often not considered seriously by public works managers.

It is not expected that all agencies and computer packages will achieve sophisticated methods of analysis. While there may be little additional payoff compared to less sophisticated methods, even a small marginal benefit can save millions of dollars over the life of these expensive capital projects. Also the cost rises when computer packages are more complex and demand better hardware capacity, speed and processing. Many users of computer services are not ready to comprehend high sophistication in analysis, so there is a tendency by managers and consultants alike to choose a method that is understandable by all actors in the policy making process. The goal of optimality in maintenance investment decision making remains an issue to be recognized by managers as they embark on a MMS.

In general, a consultant can do it all for you. For most agencies, asking the above questions will cause them to take actions to save consulting dollars and enhance their ability to
eventually more of the work themselves.

Conclusion and Opportunities
MMS provides a focus on infrastructure and public works management at the right time and brings the right solution to a national problem. With aging facilities and maintenance neglect, public managers have the opportunity to address the political lethargy. If they develop management systems, gather data, conduct analyses, they can offer public works investment recommendations that convincingly argue for getting beyond the infrastructure crisis.

No other path seems possible: that is, in absence of the management methods presented here, no progress on infrastructure seems likely and the public will continue to be placed at increasing risk when using our public works. More use of private consultants will likely result in acceleration of change and technological innovation in public works.

MMS have been installed by many communities in this nation whose managers have been willing to pursue an innovative approach. The large number of consultants could not survive if many public works managers were not taking the leap. How these managers are actually using MMS should be the focus of substantial research by all academics concerned with infrastructure as well as APWA, the professional association of public works managers. Civil engineering and public management disciplines ought to join together to raise the national consciousness about infrastructure condition and the methods and criteria used to make these public policy decisions.(17)

No doubt there will not be sufficient funds forthcoming to bring infrastructure conditions up to ideal standards any time some. Therefore, it is even more critical that the best decision models are available to the policy process to seek the maximum performance for limited dollars and to create the most convincing case in this national political neglect.

There has been much written to suggest new institutional, financial and managerial innovations to address the infrastructure issue. This presentation offers an approach, an innovation for many public works organizations, that can improve public policy making without demanding significant additional workers or management resources. No new administrative units, no structural change in government or new legislation is proposed. Rather the message is simply concerned with the managerial method of making budget recommendations for public works maintenance expenditures.

None-the-less, this approach to maintenance management may surface the need for increased budget dollars to achieve the minimum standard of infrastructure performance, let alone to achieve the optimal long term performance-cost. In addition, this analysis of total life cycle costs will suggest the need to reconsider design standards and assumptions. It will focus managers and policy makers on the main policy issues and make the need for infrastructure investment more manageable. Whether or not increased funding is received in the short term to begin to overcome weak performance, all this research asks is that the condition of infrastructure and the consequences of investment be made clear and open to public debate.


  1. Pat Choate-and Susan Walter, America in Ruins, Council of Planning Agencies, 1981
  2. See the critique of benefit-cost in “The Economics of Planning and Managing Public Investments”, Ch.4, Vaughn and Pollard, Rebuilding America, Vol. 1, 1984
  3. Royce Hanson, The Next Generation in the Management of Public Works, National Academy of Public Administration, Washington DC, November 4, 1987, p. 40
  4. Ibid, p. 21
  5. Ibid, p. 26
  7. Ralph Haas and W. Ronald Hudson, Pavement Management Systems, Krieger, 1978, p. 264
  8. TRB, NSF, FHWA, NCHRP, State DOTS and APWA . . . .(PAVER)
  9. Ibid: and Pavement Management Guide, Roads and Transportation Association of Canada, 1977
  10. AASHO tests at UI
  11. Hass, p. 76 R. Yoder and Witsak, Principles of Pavement Design, John Wiley, NY, 2nd edition, p. 508
  12. Haas and Hudson, p. 51
  13. AASHO Road Test etc.
  14. Ibid, pp. 223-226
  15. Pavement Management Guide, p. 3.14
  16. Contact the American Public Works Association’s Research Foundation, Chicago, for information on PAVER
  17. A network of public works management academics have been formed, including faculty from eleven graduate programs in Public Works management recognized by the American Public Works Association. One author, Willard Price, chairs the network. See Graduate Education in Public Works Management: Comparing Recognized Programs, addressing the Maturation of the Field, a report to the American Public Works Association, Graduate Education Committee, September 1990, by Willard Price.

By Dennis Polhill
CE 172 Urban Transportation Planning
Prof Matzzie

Table of Contents

I. Problem Definition

The first indication of an energy shortage came in 1965 with the Northeast blackout The problem became particularly serious in April of 1973 It was then that the U S became fully aware of its dependence upon foreign energy It was decided that the U S should strive to be energy self-sufficient by 1980.

A large portion of the US energy consumption is for the purpose of transportation This is shown by Figure 1, Energy Utilization Pattern – 1970 Transportation constituted 22 3;0 of the total US energy consumption.

Figure 01 – Energy Utilization Pattern 1970

Figure 1 also shows that vehicles are only 25Yo efficient in terms of useful utilization of energy consumed

The most significant utilizer of transportation energy is the automobile The automobile, in particular, has several inefficiencies inherent in its design and added by luxury providing subsystems Thus, the automobile utilizes the 25″0 useful energy output of the power-plant at an efficiency of about 2~~ for a total efficiency of 2TIo x 25;o equals 5%

Since oil creation in nature is a process which takes 600 million years, the supply of available oil, both globally and nationally, can be considered as a fixed and limited amount

The extent of available oil in nature is a question which has received much study. Two of the most reputable projections are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 02 – Oil Limitations

The above are facts and are sufficient to lead one to the conclusion that major changes are in order to reduce or supplement energy needs related to transportation

It is beyond the scope of this paper to study the feasibility of concepts which might reduce the need for transportation through changing life-style, such as mass utilization of advanced telecommunication systems or major adjustments in land use priorities In other words, it is assumed that there will be a need for automobiles in the future

It is also assumed that major technological changes in the automobile as we know it today are unlikely This assumption, though beyond the scope of this study, is somewhat substantiated by the recent United States Department of Transportation predictions for the year 2001:

1. There will be a greater variety of specialized – vehicles, powered largely by diesel and sterling cycle engines

2. Fuels will be 20-30i6 blends of methanol, diesel fuel, liquefied coal, gasohol or cellulose products

3. Fuel will be $2 00 per gallon but cost per passenger mile will have increased only 25-100io

4. Trucks will operate in designated lanes with a — single tractor pulling 3 to 12 trailers with axle loads of 40,000 pounds

5. Carpooling will be an established way of life

6. Control technology will have been developed and will permit vehicles to travel at much closer headways. All major cities will have exclusive bus lanes and several automobile restricted zones

II. Energy Alternatives

The sources of energy are: nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, geothermal, solar, wind, tidal, hydroelectric, chemical and fossil For practical use in transportation, all except chemical and fossil require the development of fixed-location electrical generating plants, electrical energy storage and utilization capabilities of automobiles Generating capabilities would have to be tripled to meet the transportation demand Considering the time necessary to develop generating capabilities and the retooling, capital investment and economic impacts on automobile related industries, it is unlikely that sources other than chemi-cal and fossil can be significantly implemented before 2000 as long as chemical or fossil fuel is available

As available oil reserves dwindle and as the rate of discovery of new reserves continues to decrease, the U S, will become more and more dependent on foreign oil The need for oil, per se, may be subverted by technological breakthroughs which appear to be near

Coal liquidification may be achieved by catalytic hydrogenation, solvent extraction, pyrolysis or indirect liquidification Several approaches to coal gasification are already in the demonstration phase:- Chicago, Illinois; Rapid City, South Dakota; Bruceton, Pennsylvania; Homer City, Pennsylvania (to open in 1976) The most ambitious demonstration plant is at New Athens, Illinois, and is under construction at an estimated cost of $237 million

It is reasonable to expect that a synthetic oil substitute derived from coal will be technologically and economically feasible by 1980 Commercial development of such processes is not likely to be sufficient to eliminate dependence on foreign petroleum until 1985

There is sufficient coal in the United States to last 400 years In addition the development of technologies to remove oil from shale are within sight At least 54 billion barrels of shale oil could be derived just from the deposits in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming

If fossil fuel is to be used, the problem is somewhat complicated by the commitment of the U S to clean up the environment This commitment is expressed in the Clean Air Act of 1970 (PL 91-604) which established emission standards for passenger vehicles:

The use of fossil fuels is merely the process of releasing solar energy stored by plants in the form of chemical energy Other types of chemical energy may be utilized in resolution of the energy problem Such processes use energy from other sources in a more convenient manner The most promising form of chemical energy is hydrogen: Initial indications are that it can be used in gaseous form as a substitute for natural gas The application of liquid hydrogen to the transportation issue may be the simple solution to the complex problem everyone is looking for Hydrogen can be burned in either internal or external combustion engines Thus societal adjustment to a new system would be minimal The emissions from hydrogen combustion are water vapor No energy is created by the manufacture of liquid hydrogen Hydrogen must be generated by dissolution of water through electrolysis (or other process) The energy of electrolysis is equivalent to the energy of hydrogen combustion Thus, development of hydrogen technology would create a significantly increased demand for electrical power Therefore, chemical energy falls subordinate to the development of electrical generating capabilities originating from other energy sources Use of liquid hydrogen merely offers a perhaps more convenient way of trans-porting energy in the freewheeling vehicle Chemical energy is not a viable alternative energy source before the turn of the century Some interesting characteristics of liquid hydrogen are represented in Figure 3.

Figure 03

In summary, heat engine technology will remain the predominant form of powerplant for freewheeling vehicles through the turn of the century Subsequently, the United States will move more and more in the direction of the all-electric society The rate at which this change occurs will be dependent upon the progress of research in several areas Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) could increase electrical generating efficiencies to 60,70 (almost double) PHD systems convert coal to hot gas that moves at high velocity through a magnetic field to produce direct electrical power Figure 4 shows the energy utilization pattern of an all-electric society.

Figure 04 – Energy Utilization (30 to 100 Years Hence)

III. Practical Alternatives – Description

Figure 5 shows eight practical alternative heat engines of which prototypes have been constructed and are being tested They are divided into two broad categories: internal combustion engines (ICE) and external combustion engines (ECE) Within the ICE category there are two types: spark ignition engines (SIE ) and compression ignition engines (CIE) Under SIE both uniform charge ignition (UC OTTO) and stratified charge ignition (SC OTTO) are applied Both the uniform charge and stratified charge are applied using both the reciprocating (conventional) and rotary (Wankel) principles

Figure 05 – Alternative Prototype Heat Engine Technologies

The CIE is embodied in the diesel. A rotary CIE would be possible but has not yet been attempted; only the reciprocating principle is utilized.

The ECE are divided into open cycles and closed cycles. The Brayton or gas turbine is the only prototype consideration in this category. Within the closed cycle group, both condensing working fluid and noncondensing working fluid are possible. The condensing working fluid is exemplified by the Rankine (steam) engine. The noncondensing working fluid is exemplified by the Stirling.

1 – 2. UC Otto – Figure 6 shows the operation of the conventional uniform charge, spark ignition, internal combustion engine Most people are familiar with its operation – intake, compression, power, exhaust The rotary engine uses the same (otto) cycle – intake, compression, power, exhaust, but accomplishes it by means of a rotary principle rather than a reciprocating principle The rotary appears not to offer significant advantages in fuel economy and emissions control over the reciprocating Figure 7 illustrates the rotary engine operation.

Figure 06 – Uniform Charge Otto

Figure 07 – Rotary Engine

3 – 4. SC Otto – Figure 8 shows the operation of the direct injection stratified charge, spark ignition, internal combustion engine- It utilizes the same principles as the uniform charge with the exception of the gas dynamics within the combustion chamber The principle of the stratified charge is to utilize variable fuel/air concentrations throughout the combustion chamber to maximize combustion, maximize power, and minimize emissions Several techniques have been attempted including use of precombustion chambers, direct fuel injection, and staged-combustion compound engines If the injection, ignition, fluid motions, and combustion can be made to follow the arrows in Figure 8, the full potential of low emissions and fuel economy can be realized The stratified charge principle is being used both in reciprocating and rotary engines

Figure 08 – Stratified Charge Otto

5. Diesel – The diesel engine is a compression ignition engine (CIE) of the ICE class It functions by intermittent combustion in which the fuel is ignited by the high temperature of the induced air after compression A diesel engine is shown in Figure 9.

Figure 09 – Diesel Engine

6. Brayton – The Brayton which is taken generally to be synonymous with the gas turbine is an external combustion engine (ECE) Figure 10 shows the hierarchy of Brayton type engines being studied Figure 11 illustrates the differences in operation of the four types of gas turbines.

Figure 10 – Brayton Engine

Figure 11 – Brayton Engine

7. Rankine – The Rankine engine is a closed cycle ECE Figure 12 shows several alternative types of the Rankine The Rankine is generally referred -to as the steam engine Its operation is illustrated by Figure 13

Figure 12 – Rankine Engine

Figure 13 – Rankine Engine

8. Stirling – The Stirling engine is a closed cycle ECE Its only difference from the Rankine is the fact that it does not condense its working fluid The advantage of this will become apparent in the comparative section The working fluid most commonly used is hydrogen rather than water in the Rankine The operation of the Stirling is exemplified by Figure 14

Figure 14 – Stirling Engine

IV. Practical Alternatives – Comparison

Figure 15 shows a plot of specific power (power per unit weight) versus specific energy (energy per unit weight) Specific power can be equated to acceleration and maximum speed. The Rankine and Stirling are lumped together and referred to as external combustion engines The several types of Otto cycles, including reciprocating and rotary engines and the diesel, are lumped together as internal combustion engines The gas turbine is represented separately as are fuel -cells and several types of electric battery vehicles Envelopes are generated The objective in this comparison is to maximize both power and energy (maximize both velocity and range) The superiority of the heat engine technologies reflects the need for additional research and development on the alternative technologies Among the heat engines the gas turbine appears to be superior

Figure 15 – Automotive Power Plants Specific Power vs Specific Energy
Figure 16 represents comparative emissions data The continuous combustion (ECE) powerplants have little difficulty meeting the emission standards The intermittent combustion (ICE) powerplants, with the exception of the diesel, can be squeezed to meet present statutory standards However, large ICE vehicles will have difficulty meeting the ultimate standards for hydrocarbons (HC) and nitric oxides (PiOx) at the same time

Figure 16 – Comparative Emissions

Figure 17 represents the comparative fuel consumption Both mature and advanced technologies are estimated and contrasted against the projected Otto technology Mature implies utilization of existing technology with minor improvements

Figure 17 – Comparative Fuel Consumption

Advanced implies some results from R & D efforts and is probably not producible until 1990 Among the mature technologies the Stirling is clearly superior Among the advanced technologies where gas turbine can more effectively exploit both high temperature capabilities and the potential for engine weight reduction afforded by ceramic materials, the Brayton takes first place over the Stirling

Figure 18 illustrates the projected energy consumption under three conditions:
1 No change in vehicle design or market mix;
2 The Otto engine evolves to the mature configuration; and
3 The Otto engine evolves to the mature configuration and then is replaced by the Stirling.

Figure 18 – Projected Energy Consumption.

The mature Otto would yield a 10% improvement in efficiency by 2000. The mature Otto replaced by the Stirling would realize a 37% improvement over no change by 2000

V. Powerplant – Independent Vehicle Improvements

From Section I, Problem Definition, it was stated that vehicle subsystems contributed significantly to the inefficiency of the automobile Thus, overall efficiency may be improved by powerplant-independent vehicle improvements Factors which effect vehicle efficiency are: weight, transmission losses, aerodynamic drag, accessories, and rolling friction By implementing vehicle improvements within present technological capabilities efficiencies represented by “intermediate technology” on Figure 19 can be realized (30’/ improvement by 2000) By implementing “long-term technology” those requiring some develop-ment and producible by 1985, a 43% improvement can be realized by 2000.

Figure 19 – Power Plant Independent Improvements

In addition to the above, some consideration is being given to the energy lost in braking. Braking accounts for 12:6% of the powerplant-independent losses. Several types of energy storing or energy recovery systems are being considered They include flywheels, batteries, and fuel cells

1. Flywheels – During braking energy which would normally be lost in heat in the brakes is transmitted to a flywheel and stored in the form of angular kinetic energy During acceleration the stored energy is transmitted to the wheels to reduce the load on the regular engine

2. Batteries – The principle is the same but not feasible with today’s battery technology During braking a generator is powered which charges storage batteries

3. Fuel cells – Where chemical energy may be utilized such as hydrogen, a hydrogen generating subsystem can be applied to the vehicle in which supplemental hydrogen fuel-is generated during braking through electrolysis powered by an electric generator attached to the braking system Advances are required before this system can become practical Other fuel cell fuels may include ammonia, hydrazine, or methanol

VI. Conclusion

The conclusion is inherent in the context of the report Heat engine technologies will dominate the transportation scene through the year 2000 (and possibly beyond 2050)

Energy supplies are available New technologies will create additional energy sources for heat engines Heat engine improvements can improve fuel consumption (37;o by 2000) Powerplant-independent improvements can reduce fuel consumption (43% by 2000) By 2000 it can be expected that heat engine powered vehicles will be nearly twice as efficient as those of today


Alternative Automotive Power Plant Research and Development for Improved Fuel Economy and Reduced Emissions, 19rJ5 General Motors Reports, programs of public interest, by John Chaplin

Automobile, The – Energy and the Environment, May, 1974, by Hittman Associates, in-c –

“Coal Liquefaction Rockets into Progress ” Industrial Research, February, 1976, p 28

“Contract Awarded for Air Cushion Vehicle ” New York Times, February 13, 1972, P• 40

“Energy Choices that Europe Faces: A European View of Energy ” by Wolf Hafele, April, 1974, Science, p 360

“Energy Crisis, The: Is it Fabrication or Miscalculation?” Environmental Science & Technology, April, 1974, p 316, y Esber Shaheen

“Energy Option: Challenge for the Future ” Science, September, 1972, p 875, by Allen Hammond

Energy Statistics – A Supplement to the Summary of National Transportation :3tatistics, August, 1, U S Department of Transportation

“ERDA’s Coal Program for Combustion, Liquefaction, MHD, Gasification ” by Robert Seamans, April, 1976, Professional Engineer, p 21

“Fluidized Bed Approach under Development for Coal Combustion -” by Henrik Harboe, April, 1976, Professional Engineer, p 24

“Flywheel in your Future, A ” Newsweek, February 11, 1974, p 98

“Highway and Transit Predictions for 2001 ” June, 1976, American City and County, p 96

“Hydrogen: A Future Energy Mediator?” Environmental Science _~ Technology, February, 1975, p 102, by Derek Gregory

“Liquid Hydrogen as a Fuel of the Future ” Science, October, 1971, p 367, by Lawrence W Jones

“Prognosis for Expanded U S Production of Crude Oil ” by Berg, Calhoun, Whiting, April, 1976, Science, p 331

Resources and Man, 1969, The National Academy of Sciences – Chapter 8, “Energy Resources” by M King Hubbert

“Role of Petroleum Liquids and Gas in U S Energy Supply Over the Next 25 Years, The ” by Arlon Tussin–, April, 1970, Professional Engineer, p 19

Should We Have a New Engine? – An Automobile Power Systems Evaluation – Volume I: -Summary August, 1T?5, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology

Should We Have _a New Engine? – An Automobile Power Systems Evaluation – Volume II: Technical Reports August, 1975, by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology

Study of Technological Improvements in Automobile Fuel Consumption, Volume I: Executive Summary December, 1974, by Donald Hunter, for U S D O T and U S E P A

Study of Technological Improvements in Automobile Fuel Consumption, A~, Volume Il: Comprehensive Discussion December, 1974, by Donald A Hunter, for U S D O T and U S l: r k

Study of Technological Improvements in Automobile Fuel Consumption, A, Volume III A, December, 1974, by Donald A Hunter, for iJ S D O T and-M -S E P h

Study in Technological Improvements in Automobile Fuel Consumption, A, Volume III B December, 1974, by Donald A Hunter, for U S D O ` and U 6 E P 1r

“Synthetic Fuels: An Industry Struggles to be Born Amidst the Perils of Techno-Econo-Politics ” by Matthew Heyman, April, 1976, Professional Engineer, p 26

Technological Improvements to Automobile Fuel Consumption, Volume I: Executive Summary Jecember,1-574, by C W Coon for U S D T and U a E P A

Technological Improvements to Automobile Fuel Consumption, Volume December,-1974, by C W Coon for U S D O `l – and U S E P A

Technological Improvements to Automobile Fuel Consumption, Volume ~Z B December, 1974, by ‘ Coon for 5 D 7 ‘i’ and U S E P A –

Technology Assessment of the Transition to Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems, _a May, 1974 by Hittman Associates, Inc

“Technology in the Coal Industry in the 1970’s ” by Leslie C Gates, February, 1971, Professional Engineer, p 33

“Transportation and the New Energy Policies ” Hearing before the Subcommittee on Transportation of the Committee on Public Works, U S Senate, December 11, 1973

“Transportation and the New Energy Policies (Truck Sizes and Weights)” Hearings before the Subcommittee on Transportation of the Committee on Public Works, U S Senate, February 20, 1974, February 21, 1974, and March 26, 1974

“Transportation to Become Dependent upon Electricity ” New York Times, May 7, 1975, p 16

United States Government Organization Manual 19 75,/19,76 by The Office of the Federal Register, General Services Administration

“Visions of the Future ” Speech by Norbert T Tiemann, Federal Highway Administrator, at the Salzberg Program, Syracuse University, April 2, 1976

Trends in the National Transportation Policy
by Dennis Polhill
C.E. 170 Transportation Characteristics
Instructor: Professor Athol
December 22, 1975

Table of Contents

I. Setting the Stage
1. Tradition
2. The First Legislation
3. The First Real Effort
4. Decline
5. The Federal Role
6. The “Good Roads” Movement

II. The New Era
1. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1916
2. The Federal Highway Act of 1921
3. The Hayden-Cartwright Act
4. Toll Roads
5. Interregional Highways
6. The War Years
7. The Federal Highway Act of 1944
8. A Financing Problem
9. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956
10. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1958
11. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1961
12. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962
13. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1966
14. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968
15. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970
16. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973

Long Distance Telephone interviews

I. Setting the Stage

1. Tradition

In early England monasteries were largely responsible for the maintenance of roadways. After Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries (1536-1539) the roads rapidly deteriorated. In 1555 the Parliament instituted “Statute Labor” which required four days work per year upon the roads by every parishioner. This is the source of the common law concept which has carried through to the American system. The effectiveness of this system was identified early in the history of the United States and adjustments were proposed.. In 1785 George Washington proposed abandonment of county- controlled statute labor in favor of contract work directed by a central authority. Governor Livingston of Pennsylvania in 1791 proposed that each county establish its own maintenance force to be paid by county taxes to “work faithfully instead of the ridiculous frolic of a number of idlers.”

2. The First Legislation

The first American road legislation was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1632. The Act was three lines and provided merely that roadways should be built.

The second action was taken in 1639 by the colony of Massachusetts. It was significant in that it was the first to mention right-of-way widths. In 1664 New York passed roadway legislation which specified standards (i.e., ten foot roadway width, stumps cut close to ground, and bridged). In 1704 the Maryland colony passed a law similar to New York’s with the addition of roadway markings (notches in trees).

In 1743 a charter was granted to the Ohio Company (private enterprise) to make a road across the mountains to the confluence of the Monongahela and Kanawha Rivers. This was the road which was used by General Braddock in 1755 during the French and Indian War. In 1758 General John Forbes made another road through Bedford and Ligonier for his successful assault on Ft. Duquesne in Pittsburgh. In 1775 the Transylvania Company was chartered with the purpose of making the wilderness road through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Most American roads at the time of the revolution were mere pack trails. A few, mostly those mentioned above, were wide enough for wagons. Pounded stone was not implemented until 1832 and wood planks were not used until 1835.

3. The First Real Effort

After the Revolutionary war the federal government was interested in the development of roads for the purpose of maintaining the unity of the nation. As a carry-over from English common law local authorities were responsible for road repair. Local agencies demanded help from the States. The States were unable to help due to their war debts. Therefore, state governments met the challenge by chartering private turnpike companies with the authority to build roads and charge user tolls. Virginia granted the first such charter in 1785 but Pennsylvania rapidly became the leader in 1791 by adopting a statewide transportation plan for 68 road and navigation improvements. In 1808 the Secretary of the Treasury reported to Congress that Connecticut had 50 turnpike companies and 770 miles of road, and New York had 67 companies and 3,110 miles of road. Some turnpike companies were subsidized by the States through stock purchased on tax exemptions. Many were able to profit up to 15 percent per year, the maximum legal limit.

Four main transmountain roads were built to meet the demand for westward migration. The Lancaster Pike was ex-tended to Pittsburgh. In New York a road was built from Massachusetts to Lake Erie. The Cumberland Road was built. from the Head of Navigation on the Potomac River (Cumberland,

Maryland) to the Head of Navigation on the Ohio River (Wheeling, West Virginia), The Northwest Turnpike was built from Winchester, Virginia to a point on the Ohio River.

4. Decline

The Railroads came into the picture about 1830. By 1850 only a few turnpike companies and transportation companies had not yet gone bankrupt due to competition from the railroads. The growth of roadways, had reached a peak.

Turnpike companies stopped maintenance. Travelers refused to pay tolls because of the condition of the roads. Responsibility for roadways fell back to state and local agencies who were able to do little. The period from 1850 to 1900 has been labeled the “dark age of the rural road.” Basically the only new roads built during this period under federal subsidy were military wagon roads built by the Army Corps of Engineers primarily in the territories.

5. The Federal Role

In 1796, Colonel Ebenezer Zane chose his revolutionary war veteran bounty land warrant at the juncture of the Muskingum, Hockhoeking, and Scioto Rivers. He received special permission from Congress to make a post road from Limestone, Kentucky (now Maysville) to Wheeling, West Virginia. This was the first instance of subsidy by the federal government for roads. Zane’s trace, like the others started out as a pack trail, but its economic significance was rapidly identifiable. Heavy traffic caused Zane’s road to be chopped out wide enough for wagons by 1803.

In 1803 Congress passed the 5 per cent law. A fund was established in-which 5 per cent of revenues generated from the sale of federally owned public lands was deposited. Three per cent was granted to the States upon admission to the Union for roads, canals, levees, river improvements and schools. Two per cent was used for constructing roads “to and through” the west. -All 33 states admitted between 1820 and 1910 were subject to this law except Texas and West Virginia,”-which had no federal lands.

The two per cent is the interesting part. In 1806 Congress authorized these funds to be used for the construction of the Cumberland road, one of the four transmountain roads. Bitter debate developed in and out of Congress..

Strict constructionists to the constitution denied that the federal government had the authority to build roads, except in territories. Article X of the Bill of Rights, “The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Proponents of federal road building prevailed by citing the “General Welfare” clause of the Constitution. By 1813 the Cumberland road was open from Cumberland, Maryland to Wheeling, West Virginia. The road became so heavily used that appropriated funds were not sufficient for maintenance. Congress took action by authorizing tolls in 1822. President Monroe vetoes the act stating that collection of tolls implied a power of jurisdiction which Was-not granted to the federal government by the Constitution. In 1835 the Army Corps of Engineers conducted major repair and rebuilding after which the road was turned over to the States for operation as a toll facility.

In 1823 Congress granted Ohio a 120 foot R.O.W. and one mile of public land on each side to finance a road from eastern Lake Erie to the Western Reserve. In 1827 Congress subsidized a toll turnpike in Ohio from Columbus to Sandusky.

In 1827 Indiana used its land grant money to build the “Michigan Road” from Lake Michigan to Indianapolis and then to Madison.

In 1830 President Andrew Jackson vetoed a bill funding the Mayville turnpike in Kentucky stating and set-ting the national policy that “Internal improvements of a purely local character are not of national importance.” This reasoning negates the claim of highway proponents under the “General Welfare” clause leaving the “police powers” (State’s Rights) clause to prevail.

All subsequent federal legislation, even during the heavily liberal periods before World War I and during the depression, have been very careful not to challenge the precedents set by these two presidential vetoes. It will be interesting to-see what, if anything, evolves as a result of the 1974 Federal-Aid Highway Amendments signed into law by President Ford, January 5, 1975, which open the Highway Trust Fund to off-system projects.

6. The “Good Roads” Movement

The interest in good roads was revitalized in the 1880’s through the lobbying power of the League of American Wheelmen and other cyclist groups. In 1893 Congress established the office of Road Inquiry. The office had a budget of $10,000, one agent, and one clerk; was organized under the Department of Agriculture; and was to “make investigations in regard to the best methods of road making, (and) to prepare publications….suitable for…. disseminating information on this subject.”

Briefly, the Office of Road inquiry became the office of Public Road Inquiry in 1899, the office of Public Roads in 1905, the office of Public Roads and Rural Engineering in 1915, the Bureau of Public Roads in 1919. In 1939 the Bureau of Public Roads became the Public Roads Administration under the Federal Works Agency. In 1949 the Federal Works Agency was abolished. The Public Roads Administration became the Bureau of Public Roads again, temporarily under the General Services Administration (7/1/49 – 8/20/4.9) and finally under the Department of Commerce. In 1966.the Department of Transportation was established. The Bureau of Public Roads was transferred under this consolidation move and became the Federal Highway Administration.

In 1895, four passenger cars were registered in the United States. By 1900, 8,000 were on the roads. By 1910 there were 458,000. In 1904 the first complete inventory of public road mileage was conducted by the office of Public Road Inquiry. The United States had 2,151,570 miles of road.

Only 153,662 miles were improved with stone, gravel, or sand- clay surfaces. (A few were even better: the first brick street was constructed in Charleston, West Virginia in 1872; the first rock asphalt street was constructed in Newark, New Jersey in 1870; the first sheet asphalt street was constructed in Washington, D.C, in 1879.1 Not included in the total was 1,101 miles of stone surface toll roads in Pennsylvania and 497 miles of toll roads in Maryland. Ninety-three per cent of the nation’s roads were dirt paths. In 1891 New Jersey was the first state to pass a State-Aid Bill. It was also the first state to allow local governments to utilize debt services for road projects. By 1917 all states had adopted State-Aid legislation for roads. Roy Stone, first Head of the Office of Road Inquiry recommended that “object lesson roads” (experimental/demonstration) be constructed. Stone got approval but his budget remained at $10,000. He was forced to go to private and local sources for funds. Stone resigned in 1893. Martin Dodge, the new Director continued the demonstration road program. The “object lesson” concept was successful. Once it became widely known that “good roads” were a potential reality, the clamor increased. Congress would have to do something.

Even the railroads, secure in their position as the backbone of the American transportation system, got on the good roads bandwagon. The railroads had learned a hard economic lesson by yielding to pressures to build spur routes and duplicate parallel routes which never provided profits. The railroads were anxious to provide service to those unprofitable tributary routes through other means.

Finally, in 1912 Congress authorized $500,000 for an experimental program of rural post-road construction. It is interesting to note at this late date how cautious Congress is with regard to the precedents set by the vetoes of Presidents Monroe and Jackson. Under Article I, Section 8, Para-graph 7 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress is specifically delegated responsibility for postal roads. In fact, the appropriation was made through the Post Office Appropriation Act and States were required to come-up with two-thirds of the project costs. Only 17 states took advantage of the program. This was the only one of 60 federal monetary aid bills to pass in 1912. Consequently a Joint Congressional Committee was appointed to determine if and how federal funds could be used to aid highway construction. The report was submitted in 1915 and resulted in the passage of the Shackleford Good Roads Bill.

II. The New Era

1. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1916

In 1916 Congress parsed the Shackleford Good Roads Bill, better known as the Federal Aid Road Act. This Legislation was revolutionary in concept and established the be-ginning of a new era in transportation. The Act circumvented established precedents by making the program optional to the States on the basis-of a 50 – 50 matching funds relationship. Each State was required to establish a state highway department capable of administering the funds. States received apportionments on the basis of formulas weighted by area, population, and rural mail route mileage (still relying on the post-road responsibility of Congress). The States retained the initiative and prerogative in proposing roads and types of improvements, the responsibility for surveys, plans, specifications, right-of–way acquisition, and contract administration. No tolls could be charged. Ownership and maintenance responsibility remained with the State. This act set the pattern for all highway legislation of the future.

The century long debate over the nature and intent of the Federal-State relationship had,~ in all practicality, been resolved. During conservative periods attempts have been made to swing back to the transitional “Federalism:” late 1920’s Eisenhower administration, Nixon administration; but it is unlikely that this will ever be successful.

The traditional interpretation of federalism as a strict division of responsibilities between the Federal and State Governments had been adjusted to, but not yet labeled, the “New Federalism.” The “New Federalism” is difficult to define but is generally described as a mixture of responsibilities, similar to a marble cake.

2. The Federal Highway Act of 1921

The Federal-Aid Road Act of 1916 authorized $5,000,000; $10,000,000; $15,000,000; $20,000,000; $25,000,000 for fiscal .,years 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920 and 1921 respectively. The pro-gram was an astounding success. However, in 1917 the United

States found itself in the midst of World War I. It was quickly discovered that the railroads were not capable of handling the increased demand for transport of war material. The trucking-industry was born. In one year the number of trucks in the country doubled. There were no load limits and during the spring thaw of 1918 even the best roads deteriorated. The poor condition of the roads and fuel restrictions helped trucking for hire to thrive.

After the war, road builders and truck manufacturers agreed on a truck capacity of 7 1/2 tons. The post office appropriation act of 1920 authorized $200,000,000 of additional funding for the 1916 road act. Also $139,000,000 worth of surplus war material and equipment was distributed among the State Highway Departments. The railroads were helped back on their feet by the Transportation Act of 1920. The Federal-Aid Highway Act was about to lapse. Another highway act was necessary to continue the program. The Federal Highway Act of 1921 was passed. A major provision of this act was the requirement that all State Highway Departments designate a system of principal roads which would be eligible for federal aid funds. The “Federal-Aid System” was limited to seven per cent of the total mileage in each state and subject to approval of the Bureau of Public Roads (to assure continuity between states). Congress appropriated $75,000,000 for fiscal 1922.

3. The Hayden-Cartwright Act

The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1934, better known as the Hayden-Cartwright Act, is significant in that it allowed the use of federal matching funds up to one and a-half per cent for surveys, plans, and engineering investigation. Highway planning was born. During the next two years, 1934 and 1935, Herbert S. Fairbank, Deputy Commissioner for Research of the Bureau of Public Roads became a strong and outspoken advocate of “Planning for Planning.” He is called the Father of Highway Planning. His recommended inventories required a great deal of man power. Under the National Recovery Act, manpower was made available for both highway work and planning. Requirements for state matching funds were temporarily lifted so that work could continue.

It was estimated that for each person working on the highways two other people were employed in the manufacture and trans-port of needed material and equipment. With the inclusion-of “WPA” funds, appropriations during the ’30’s went as high as $1.2 billion per year.

4. Toll Roads

During the 1930’s the Pennsylvania Turnpike was constructed between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. It was planned and built by special state authorities, which used private engineering firms and financed the project with revenue bonds. During World War I2, heavy military use of the road proved valuable both to the turnpike authorities and the military. Increased traffic allowed the revenue bonds to be retired early and expeditions movement of war goods aided the military. This, with the increase in traffic after World War II stimulated growth of toll roads in several states.

5. Interregional Highways

The value of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was recognized before the war. In 1938 Congress directed the Bureau of Public Roads to study the feasibility of a toll-financed system of six superhighways. The report, “Toll Roads and Free Roads” was presented to Congress in 1939. The report stated that a 14,000 mile toll road system as suggested by Congress would not be self-supporting. The report went on to document the need-for a system of interregional super-highways with connections through and around cities. A 26,700 mile system was proposed with the suggestion that the federal government contribute more than the traditional 50 per cent federal share. In 1941 President Roosevelt appointed a National Interregional Highway Committee headed by Thomas MacDonald, Commissioner of Public Roads to look more closely at the concept. The value of the Hayden-Cartwright Act and Herbert Fairbank’s inventory of data for planning was realized. -In addition, Congress in 1943 requested the Bureau of Public Roads to make a study of the need for a nationwide expressway system. In 1944 a single joint report was submitted to Congress entitled “Interregional Highways.” The study considered many alternatives and recommended a 39,000 mile optimum network. The report called for “high standards of geometric design” and full access control. No cost estimate was made, but a $750,000,000 per year post war expenditure was suggested.

6. The War Years

A Federal Highway Act was passed in 1940 but little of the apportioned funds were utilized due to World War II.

In 1941 (less than three weeks before Pearl Harbor) Congress passed the Defense Highway Act. It authorized 75 per cent participation by the federal government but approved only projects on a designated strategic highway network. Roads which provided access to military establishments were subject to 100 per cent participation. In 1943 Congress amended the

Defense Highway Act so as to authorize expenditure of funds still remaining under the 1940 Highway Act. For the first time federal funds were allowed for right-of-way acquisition. The funds were used only for PS & E (plans, specifications and estimates) and for R.O.W. acquisition for two reasons: (a) critical material was needed for the war effort, and (b) Congress wanted to generate a reservoir of plans in order to start highway construction immediately after the war.

7. The Federal Highway Act of 1944

The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1944 required the designation of a “National System of Interstate Highways” not to exceed 40,000 miles. The Act also authorized $500,000,000 per year for the first three years after the war. The funds were restricted to a 45:30:25 ratio for primary, secondary and urban extensions, respectively. This distribution was later labeled the “ABC Program” and the ratio remained until-1973. The Act retained the provision which allowed the use of federal funds for right-of-way acquisition and established as a prerequisite to federal aid that traffic control devices must conform with uniform standards. The indirect or passive nature of this last requirement reflects the continued reluctance of Congress to confront the constitutional question of State’s rights. No funds were specifically designated for interstate construction.

On August 2, 1947, selection of the general locations of the interstate routes was announced. Much discussion between theStates, the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Public Roads had gone into the selections. A total of 37,700 miles was recommended. The remaining 2,300 miles authorized by Congress was reserved for auxiliary urban routes.

8. A Financing Problem

In 1952 the Federal Aid Highway Act authorized $25,000,000 specifically for the interstate system and equal amounts for 1954 and 1955. The 1954 Federal Aid Highway Act authorized $175,000,000 for 1956 and 1957 respectively. for the interstate system at 60 per cent participation. The program was ineffective. Federal authorizations were too small and States were unable to finance their portion. The first interstate highway cost estimate was $11.3 billion in 1949. At this rate, the interstate system would never have been completed. The cost estimate was increasing faster than the system was being built.

In 1953 the House Subcommittee on Roads conducted hearings and published the “National Highway Study.” The automobile manufacturer’s association had just completed a study which indicated that unsafe and inadequate highways were costing the nation’s motorists at least 3 billion dollars per year. In 1954 President Eisenhower described a “properly articulate highway system” in his message to the Governors’ Conference. In response the Governors’ Conference directed its Committee on Highways to prepare a special report to the President. The Kennon Committee Report went to the President with the message that the national government should assume primary responsibility for financing the interstate system. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1954 directed the Bureau of Public Roads to make several extensive studies. One of these was the “Needs of the Highway System, 1955 – 1984” (March 1955) estimated the cost of the interstate system at $23.2 billion. Another was “Process and Feasibility of Toll Roads and their Relation to the Federal Aid Program” (April 1955). This report indicated that 6,700 miles could be financed by tolls; but that widespread interest in toll roads would soon end.

After the report from the Kennon Committee, Eisenhower” appointed the Advisory Committee on a national highway program, better known as the Clay Committee for its chairman. The Committee report “A 10-year National Highway Program” was presented to Congress in February 1955. This report set the estimate at $27 billion and recommended a 90 per cent ($25 billion) share for the federal government. The interstate system was to be constructed over a 10 year period and was to be financed by $20 billion of long-term bonds-which would have been-.repaid over a 32 year period from the existing 2-cent federal motor-fuel tax. Congress was not happy with the report: (a) the proposal placed a 32 year ceiling on ABC programs; (b) it would cost $12 billion in bond interest, and, (c) it removed fiscal control of the program from the hands of Congress.

Early in 1955 bills were introduced into both the House and Senate, but no legislation resulted. Although nearly all factions were in favor of the interstate programs, there was lack of agreement and compromise.

9. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956

By the time Congress returned in 1956 pressure of public opinion had increased. Differing factions were ready for compromise. The pay-as-you-go concept was agreed upon.

A house bill was passed 4/17. It was amended and passed in the Senate 5/29. A compromise bill was developed by 6/25 and passed both houses on 6/26 by overwhelming majorities. President Eisenhower signed the bill 6/29. The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was born. This Act is actually two acts. Title I is the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Title II is the Highway Revenue Act of 1956.

Title z directs the Secretary of Commerce to cooperate with State Highway-Departments in the establishment of design standards (AASHO and BPR had already begun. The standards were completed and adopted by July 1956). Title I authorized 41,000 miles of interstate. Inclusion of existing toll roads in the interstate system was permitted (federal funds could not be applied to toll roads and the toll roads must be opened to free travel once the bonds are paid off). The Act limited vehicle weights and widths by adopting the AASHO limits or those of the respective state, whichever was higher. The Act expanded on a provision of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1950 which established the requirement for public hearings when by-passing or going through a city. Advanced acquisition of right-of-way was permitted. The federal share was 90 percent. A generous ABC program was continued. The apportionment formula as applied to the interstate was to be changed, effective 1959. Subsequent apportionments would be on the basis of need, so that the entire system would be completed at the same time.

Title II created the funding mechanism which would make the interstate system possible. It created the Highway Trust Fund which is the source of federal matching funds.

Creation of the Trust Fund required several amendments to the Internal Revenue Code. Previously highway funding was taken out of the general budget. Similarly, highway revenues went into the general treasury. The idea behind the fund is simply to separate the highway money from the regular federal budget to require the highway users to pay for the highways. Highway. user taxes were increased for the period 7/1/56 to 6/30/72. The taxes are deposited in the Trust Fund and are administered by the Secretary of the Treasury. If a balance should accrue in the Trust Fund, the money was to be loaned to the general treasury under the same conditions as, but in place of, outside money. By 1969 over $160 million had been generated from interest on the Trust Fund balance. The highway user taxes and the Trust Fund have been one of the most popular taxes ever devised.

10. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1958

In January of 1958, as required by the Act of 1956, the Bureau of Public Roads submitted its first periodic estimate of the cost of completing the interstate system. Over a million man-hours went into preparation of the estimate. This was the first detailed estimate of the entire 41,000 mile system. It came to $37.6 billion (the $10 billion increase was due to four factors: traffic projections, $1.3 billion; local needs (dictated by congressional action), $3.8 billion; construction prices, $4.1 billion; and miscellaneous, $.8 billion). In addition, 1958 was a time of recession. Congress decided to accelerate the highway program as a cure for the economy. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1958 was passed. It increased interstate authorizations from $2 billion to $2.2 billion for fiscal 1959 and to $2.5 billion for each of fiscal 1960 and 1961. To avoid depletion of the Trust Fund the highway user taxes had to be raised in 1959.

11. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1961

The second periodic estimate of the cost of completing the interstate system was presented to Congress in January 1961. Over two million man-hours went into its preparation. $33 billion would be required to complete the system. It confirmed the estimate of 1958. The “Highway Cost Allocation Study” undertaken in 1956 was also presented to Congress in January 1961. The purpose of this study was to recommend a system. of equity by which costs and benefits to highway uses would be matched. The Federal-Aid Highway. Act of 1961 was passed, raising certain highway user taxes, establishing equity among users, and putting the Trust Fund back on a sound basis.

12. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962

The need for an integrated transportation program and in-depth planning became apparent in 1962. AASHO, NACO, and AMA (National League of Cities) launched their “Action Program” which advocated urban transportation planning.

The National Committee on Urban Transportation had been advocating such transportation planning since its creation in 1954 by AMA, ICMA, ASPO, NIMLO, APWA, and MFOA. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 required a continuous planning program and called for greater cooperation among all levels of government. The Act stipulated that after 7/65 projects would not be approved unless they were based on continuous, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning. Congress repeated itself in regard to transportation planning in the Housing Act of 1961 and the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964. There was no question as to the position of Congress in regard to comprehensive, in depth planning, the integration of transportation systems, and cooperation between governments. The 1962 Act also required state highway departments to furnish satisfactory relocation advisory assistance to families displaced by the new interstates.

13. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1966

Four acts of significance to the highway system were passed in 1966. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act identified the necessity “to establish motor vehicle safety standards.” The Highway Safety Act attempted to establish a “coordinated national highway safety program.” It required states to establish an approved highway safety program. The Federal-Aid Highway Act merely appropriated revenues ($3:6 billion each for fiscal 1968 and 1969). The Transportation Act created the Department of Transportation.

14. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 created the “Traffic Operations Program to increase capacity and safety” (topics). There was $400 million authorized under topics on a 50 – 50 matching basis. Most states added 25 per cent for local governments making the local government share only 25 per cent. The 1968 Act also established appropriations for fiscal 1970 and 1971 of $4 billion each.

15. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 repeated the relocation assistance requirements of the 1962 Act. The relocation requirements were repeated again and expanded to all federal-aid projects by the uniform Relocation

Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act of 1970. Another redundancy appeared on the environmental front.

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 establishing the E.I.S. (environmental impact statement) was passed.

The 1970 Highway Act repeated the environmental concern. The 1970 Act changed the participation ratio to 70 per cent federal for ABC programs. Topics was continued. The Trust Fund was extended to 1977 and $4 billion was appropriated for each of fiscal 1972, 1973 and 1974. The Highway Safety. Act was extended as Title II of the 1970 Highway Act. It is interesting to note that the Highway Trust Fund had proved so successful and so popular that in 1970 the Airport and Airway Development Act and the Airport and Airway Revenue Act were passed creating the Airway Trust Fund.

16. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973

The 1973 Highway Act symbolizes the trend of changing priorities as the completion of the interstate system approaches and as the need for integrated transportation is recognized. Appropriations had peaked. The 1973 Act authorized only $3.25 billion each for fiscals 1975 and 1976.

The topics program was discontinued. In place of topics section 230 authorized off-system projects to eliminate safety hazards. Section 301 increased the appropriation under the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 from $3.1 billion to $6.1 billion with 80 per cent federal participation from the Trust Fund. Section 124 opened the Trust Fund for bikeways and walkways: “sums appropriated …. shall be available for bicycle projects and pedestrian walkways…..”

The ABC (45:30:25) ratio was changed and federal participation on ABC projects was increased to 90 per cent.

The major change under the Federal-Aid Highway Amendments of 1974 was an additional provision for off-system projects. “These new funds may be used on any rural road or bridge which is toll free and not on a federal-aid system, and which is under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority and open to public travel. The funds may not be used within the boundaries of any urban area with a population of more than 50,000.”

In the colonial period the emphasis was; against roads.

Roads could be used by the Indians and, therefore, were a liability. Most of the first roads were made by Armies as a necessity for making attacks. As the Indian threat decreased and as the population increased, crude roads, often only pack-trails were established. After the Revolutionary War there was a strong movement to provide roads and canals in an effort to tie the nation together, promote westward growth, and strengthen the economy through internal flow of goods. These roads were primary provided by creating private turnpike companies. With the development of the railroads about 1830 both the roads and the canals declined. The railroads maintained total dominance of the transportation picture until after 1900. The clamor for good roads by cyclists and the development of the automobile caused Congress to act. Legislation was passed in 1916 which allowed federal aid for highways without infringing on states rights. During World War I the importance of the automobile was realized and the highway program was accelerated. During the depression the highway program was accelerated even more in an effort to revive the economy. The highway system was doing so well that some thoughts were given to higher ideas such as planning and a nationwide system of superhighways. After World War II highway development was accelerated to provide the transition from war economy to peace economy. In-depth studies were conducted into the feasibility of an interstate system. In 1956 the Highway .Trust Fund was created and the interstate system was under way, top priority. The interstate system can be,attributed much of the credit for the booming economy of the 1960’s. The interstate produced a cost/benefit ratio of 2.9 on the basis of direct savings to uses along.

The peak has passed. The interstate is 87 per cent complete. Appropriations for highways has begun to decrease. What is in store, as evidenced by the planning requirements of the 1962 Highway Act and the increasing diversity of allowable applications of Trust Fund money by the 1970, 1973, and 1974 Highway Acts, for the future is a less concentrated, more general, integrated transportation policy. .


“Highways to Nowhere” by Richard Hebert, 1972.

“Mankind on the Move” by Christy Borth, 1969.

“Transportation Geography” by Michael Hurst, 1974.

“Future Highways and Urban Growth” by Wilbur Smith and Associates, 2/61.

“American Highway Policy” by Charles L. Dearing, 1941.

“Road to Ruin” by A.Q. Mowbray, 1969.

“Transportation Century” by George Mott, 1966.

“Locational Analysis” by Curtis C. Harris, Jr. and Frank E. Hopkins, 1972.

“The Urban Economies, 1985” by Curtis C. Harris, Jr., 1973.

“National Transportation Policy in Transition” by Herman Mentins, Jr., 1972.

“The Freeway in the-City” by the Committee of Urban Advisors for the FHWA, 1968.

“Traffic Operations Program to Increase Capacity and Safety (TOPICS): A Policy Evaluation” (Masters Thesis) by David Wright, 1969.

“Quarterly Report on the Federal-Aid Highway Program” by Norbert T. Tiemann, Administrator, FHWA, U.S. DOT, June 30, 1975 (released August 27, 1975).

“The Benefits of Interstate Highways”. by FHWA, U.S. DOT, 6/70.

“Social and Economic Effects of Highways” by the Socio Economic Studies Division, Office of Program and Policy Planning, FHWA, U.S. DOT, 1974; and the 1975 Supplement Thereto

“Highway Planning Technical Report – Financing Federal-Aid Highways – An Amplification” 7/74 by FHWA, U.S. DOT.

“The 1974 National Highway Needs Report” 1/31/75, by FFiWA, U . S . DOT. I

“Regional Decision Making: New Strategies for Substate Districts”. Volume I of Substate Regionalism and the Federal System, October, 1973, by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

“The History and Development of Road Building in the United States” by. Thomas H. MacDonald, October 6, 1926, paper #16-85, A.S.C.E. Transactions.

“United States Government Organization Manual” 1974,

-by The Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, Governor Services Administration.

“Highway Statistics Charts” 1973, FHWA, U.S. DOT.

“DOT News” (U.S. Roadway Summary & Distribution) , released 12/31/74, FHWA, U.S. DOT. .

“Federal-Aid Highway Project Procedures” 9/18/74, FHWA,U.S. DOT.

“New ederal Funds for Rural Roads – The Off-System Federal-Aid Highway. Program” 5/75,” FHWA, U.S. DOT.

“The Federal-Aid Highway Program and Federal-State ; Relation ship” 1/75, FHWA, U.S. DOT.

“The- Administration of Federal-Aid for Highways” 1/57,by The Bureau of Public Roads, U.S. Department of Commerce. “Acquiring Your Real Property for Federal-Aid Highways” 8/75 Office of Right-of-Way, FHWA, U.S. DOT.

“History of Public Works in the United States” 1976, E(prepublication draft of Chapters 3 and 4) by APWA.

“The Federal Union” 1964, by Hicks, Mowry, Burke.

“The American Nation” 1965, by Hicks, Mowry, and Burke.

“The Policy Setting: Analysis of Federal-Aid Policy Alternatives” by Richard P. Nathan, Brookings Institute for the U. S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.

“The Highway Trust Fund” 5/69, The American Road Builder, by E. M. Cope (Chief, Highway Statistics Division, Bureau of Public Roads).

“Development of the Interstate Highway System” 8/64, by The Bureau of Public Roads, U.S. Department of Commerce.

“A Brief History of the Federal-Aid Secondary Road Program” 1972, by FHWA, U.S. DOT.

“Pending Legislation Affecting Federal-Aid Highway Programs” 11/?5, APWA Reporter, by Daniel J. Hanson, Sr. (Executive Vice President, American Road Builders Association). .

“Public Roads of the Past.- Historic American Highways” by American Association of State Highway Officials.

“Development of Roads in the United States” by The Bureau of Public Roads.

“Federal-Aid Highway Funding” 5/75, FHWA, U.S. DOT.

“Laws Relating to Federal-Aid in Construction of Roads” 1971, Compiled by The Office of the Federal Register.

Long Distance Telephone interviews

11/6 Management Information Systems, FHWA

11/6 John Sharp, Program Coordinator for Historical Development, FHWA

11/6 Mr. Burdell, Chief of Federal-Aid Division, FHWA

11/6 Richard Wineburg (an Aide to Mr. Burdell)

11/6 DOT Library Information Desk

11/6 Mr. Maloney, Part-Time Historical Consultant, FHWA

11/6 Mrs. Feldman, Public Affairs Office, FHWA

11/6 Mr, Highland, Public Affairs office, FHWA

11/7 Mrs. Ritter, Works for Mr. Maloney

11/10 Dr. Suelleri Hoy, Executive Secretary of American Public Works Association Bicentennial Commission

12/1 Ellis Armstrong, Chairman, APWA Bicentennial Commission

12/9 Mr. Moss, Legislative Aide for Representative Goodloe E. Byron

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