Costs

  • The ITS Costs Database contains three types of entries: system cost summaries, cost element ranges, and sample unit costs. System cost summaries are useful to understand real-world examples of full system installations, but do not always provide an itemized breakdown of costs. Cost element ranges may be useful for estimating costs of specific equipment purchases since they have been compiled with many years’ worth of data using expert judgment. Sample unit costs may be useful to the user who wants to review individual cost entries and construct a custom cost estimate.

  • Cost data come from a variety of sources ranging from detailed transportation agency bid tabulation data to high-level project data presented in deployment reports. Sources are analyzed and if deemed applicable can serve as a new cost entry in one or more parts of the ITS Costs Database. A sample unit cost source may contain cost data that are used to update the values in the cost element ranges. See About Costs for the relationship of cost sources and the three types of costs data.

    System cost summaries are taken primarily from written sources such as formal evaluation reports, conference papers and presentations, data from State and local DOTs, and self-reported costs from recipients of ITS Program funds. On occasion these sources are supplemented with correspondence with the reporting agency or organization. Specific sources are cited with links to source documents when available.

    Cost element ranges are based on several cost estimation efforts developed for the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) ITS Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) and have been updated based on new data sources such as ITS project evaluations, State and local DOT ITS deployment reports, vendors of ITS products, and self-reported costs from recipients of ITS Program funds. Analysts review and analyze available cost data, then update the unit costs ranges (low to high) when appropriate. If no data are available for a unit cost element, then the value remains unchanged. A chronological listing of direct and indirect sources is available at Data Sources.

  • There are three organization schemes used in the ITS costs database: one for cost element ranges, one for sample unit costs, and one for system cost summaries.

    Cost element ranges are organized first by subsystems, based roughly on where an ITS element physically resides, based on an earlier version of the National ITS Architecture. In some cases, the subsystems were further divided to better reflect cost elements and actual ITS deployments, resulting in a total of 22 subsystems. These subsystems are then organized by the five Physical View Classes in the Architecture Reference for Cooperative and Intelligent Transportation (ARC-IT) Version 9.0: Center, Field, Personal, Support, and Vehicle.

    Sample unit costs are organized by the same subsystems as the cost element ranges with two additional subsystems: Other System Wide and Non-ITS. Additional information can be found in About Costs.

    System cost summaries are presented according to the various topics of interest to transportation professionals. There are 16 topic areas. Summaries are also classified by project location. Links to related cost element ranges data are provided in each system cost summary.

  • Currently, the database contains over 5,000 sample unit cost data entries, 291 cost element ranges, and over 400 system cost summaries.

  • System cost summaries and sample unit costs are added to the costs database as new sources become available. Unlike the cost element ranges, which are updated periodically, new system cost summaries are added to the costs database as they are completed. Cost element ranges are updated periodically to coincide with final publication of indexes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Users can access the Latest Updates page for the most recent system cost summary additions.

  • Users are encouraged to submit sources for consideration for inclusion in the costs database. To contribute cost data, click on Contact Us. All contributions are reviewed by a cost analyst before content is added to the costs database.

    For more information, see the About Costs page or Contact Us.

  • System cost summaries provide the costs of an ITS project or portion of an ITS project such as the detailed costs for a signal interconnect project. Each entry describes the background of the project, the ITS technologies deployed, and presents the costs and what components the costs covered. If available, a breakout of components and costs is provided. Both capital costs and annual O&M costs are presented whenever possible.

  • Cost element ranges are the costs associated with an individual ITS element, such as a video camera for traffic surveillance or a dynamic message sign. A cost element may contain multiple components such as a camera, pole, and installation; these are generally listed in the “description” field. A range of costs (e.g., $500 to $1,000) is presented for the capital cost and annual operations and maintenance (O&M) cost of each element. An estimate of the length in years of its usable life is also presented to assist with the estimation of lifecycle costs or depreciation.

    Cost element ranges are available in two formats: unadjusted and adjusted. Unadjusted costs are presented as the original value along with the dollar year. The dollar years vary over time and to account for these differences, each cost value is adjusted to a common year. Indexes maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (e.g., Producer Price Indexes (PPI) and Consumer Price Indexes (CPI)) are used to adjust the unit cost values. Specific indexes representative of the ITS elements are used in the adjusted cost calculations. As opposed to inflation cost adjustments, many of the indices (e.g., the index applied to elements that contain electronic components) result in lower costs over time. For more information on the use of indexes to adjust cost element ranges see Unit Cost Indexes.

  • Sample unit costs consist of cost entries for ITS components that have been compiled from available sources, typically bid tabulation, or bid tab, data from state DOTs. Bid tabs provide the amount bid by each vendor or bidder for each pay item unit of a contract as well as the total contract. Other sources include project estimates, actual project costs, and cost reports. Sample unit costs are example costs for specific hardware, software, or services. A sample unit cost entry can include one or more types of information such as Capital Cost, O&M Cost, and Lifetime. The ITS component description refers to the specific equipment description developed by the cost provider.

    Costs figures are presented in table format both in the original year of expenditure dollars and in inflation or index-adjusted dollars. Excel spreadsheets of these tables are downloadable for users to further analyze if desired.

    See About Costs for more details.