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Benefits of public roadside safety rest areas in Texas : technical report.
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  • Abstract:
    The objective of this investigation was to develop a benefit-cost analysis methodology for safety rest areas in Texas and to demonstrate its application in select corridors throughout the state. In addition, this project considered novel safety rest area development approaches that could reduce the public cost burden borne by individual public agencies. Based upon the available supporting data for Texas, a benefit-cost ratio relationship was developed that included safety, comfort and convenience, and excess travel and diversion benefits accrued by highway users; direct monetary benefits accrued by highway or other public agencies; economic development/tourism and specific business enterprise benefits accrued by external entities and direct monetary cost accrued by highway or other public agencies. The resulting method utilizes timely and relevant data and national/aggregate unit values, whose sources are carefully documented to ensure defensibility and repeatability of the benefit-cost ratios estimated for Texas. A noted shortcoming of the applied method is that it is heavily assumption-based—minor changes to any of the assumed values will influence the resultant benefit-cost ratios, although it is unclear to what extent these ratios would change. A second shortcoming not unique to this methodology relates to the quality and accessibility of supporting data, which challenged and in some instances prevented estimation of individual benefit and cost components. A high level of variability in individual benefit and cost component estimates—both within and between the three demonstration corridors—suggests limitations to the transferability of these results.
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