The Economics of Road Maintenance

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This report discusses the economics of road maintenance. It develops analytical approaches to help ensure that road expenditure is used in the most efficient and cost-effective manner both in terms of dividing funds between construction and maintenance and allocation of maintenance funds between locations, treatment types and treatment timing. The focus is on the impact of timely and adequate maintenance expenditure on the overall costs to society — that is, costs to road agencies, road users and externalities. The analytical approach and case studies demonstrate the potential costs of delayed or deferred maintenance expenditure, which can result in much higher overall costs, reinforcing the adage: ‘a stitch in time save nine’. The report also provides a computer modelling approach to optimising road maintenance expenditure over time so as to minimise the overall cost to society, without and with constraints on road agency spending levels.