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Review of road user costs and methods.
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    The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) uses road user costs (RUC) to calculate incentive or disincentive compensation for contractors, quantify project-specific liquidated damages, select the ideal sequencing of a project, and forecast the long-term effects new construction will have on the traveling public. The current RUC calculations were initially set in 1996 by research project SD1995-07 Criteria and Guidelines for Innovative Contracting; they have undergone little updating aside from unit cost values. Since the last research project, the two offices (Project Development and Operations Support) that depend on RUC have updated these values to keep up with inflation, but have done so independently. Currently, they use different worksheets with similar fields, but the values used to calculate RUC are substantially different. Maintaining the most up-to-date RUC is extremely important to SDDOT, as underestimation of RUC results in increased costs to the traveling public, while overestimation results in the SDDOT overpaying on incentives for early completion of construction projects. Obtaining proper RUC also helps to justify the deployment of new technologies that can accelerate the construction process for pavement and bridges and strengthen the economic competitiveness of SD in the region. Calculated RUC in South Dakota are currently much lower than those of surrounding states, in part due to infrequent updates. As a result, South Dakota construction projects may be given a lower priority compared with projects managed by the same contractor in surrounding states that have greater incentive/disincentive values. The subsequent impacts to South Dakota road users include extended construction periods, prolonged traveler delays, compromised safety, and inconvenience.
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