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The paper describes some features of the vehicle operating cost/road-roughness relationships reported in the major international research studies from 1972 to 1986. This research is characterized by the use of road-surface roughness devices, fleets of experimental vehicles to measure fuel consumption, large-scale surveys of vehicle operators, improvements to speed and fuel modeling, and the development of user-friendly economic evaluation models. All studies report significant effects on operating costs following changes in surface roughness. The issues of calibration, new vehicle technologies, and extrapolation of study results are then discussed. The paper concludes by characterizing the main features of the research studies and shows the rise in operating costs attendant on allowing surface conditions from deteriorating to high levels of roughness.
vehicle operating costs, developing countries, speed modeling, roughness, highway design evaluation models, pavement management systems, calibration
Research economist, Center for Transportation Research, University of Texas, Austin, TX