Comparative Evaluation of Public-Private Partnerships in Roadway Preservation

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In a bid to reduce overall costs, manage risks, and attract private capital, highway agencies worldwide strive to increase private-sector participation in road infrastructure development, particularly at the developmental phases of construction and preservation. A common mechanism for private-sector participation is the concept of a public-private partnership (PPP). As agencies grapple with the decision about whether to adopt a specific PPP or the traditional contracting approach for a specific project, they lack a rational decision-support structure. In addressing this major gap in PPP-related literature, this paper presents a framework by which an agency may assess the performance (relative benefits) of different PPP contracting approaches for highway preservation. For the purposes of this paper, performance is expressed in relation to the likelihood and intensity of cost savings calculated with data from domestic (U.S.) and international projects. In addition, the influence of project and contract attributes (such as the expected project duration, work type, and project size) on PPP project performance is investigated. The framework can be used or duplicated by highway-related agencies and international organizations for identifying the superior contracting option for a given road preservation project on the basis of project characteristics and for quantifying the consequences of such choices for cost savings or other performance criteria.

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Transportation Research Record, v. 2235, p. 9-19