Challenges associated with ensuring the accuracy and reliability of cost estimation of highway construction bid items are of significant interest to state highway transportation agencies. Even with the existing research undertaken on the subject, the problem of inaccurate estimation of highway bid items still exists. This paper aims to assess the accuracy of the cost estimation methods employed in the selected studies to provide insights into how well they perform empirically. Additionally, this research seeks to identify, synthesize and assess the impact of the factors affecting highway unit prices because they affect the total cost of highway construction costs.
This paper systematically searched, selected and reviewed 105 papers from Scopus, Google Scholar, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Transportation Research Board (TRB) and Science Direct (SD) on conceptual cost estimation of highway bid items. This study used content and nonparametric statistical analyses to determine research trends, identify, categorize the factors influencing highway unit prices and assess the combined performance of conceptual cost prediction models.
Findings from the trend analysis showed that between 1983 and 2019 North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East contributed the most to improving highway cost estimation research. Aggregating the quantitative results and weighting the findings using each study's sample size revealed that the average error between the actual and the estimated project costs of Monte-Carlo simulation models (5.49%) performed better compared to the Bayesian model (5.95%), support vector machines (6.03%), case-based reasoning (11.69%), artificial neural networks (12.62%) and regression models (13.96%). This paper identified 41 factors and was grouped into three categories, namely: (1) factors relating to project characteristics; (2) organizational factors and (3) estimate factors based on the common classification used in the selected papers. The mean ranking analysis showed that most of the selected papers used project-specific factors more when estimating highway construction bid items than the other factors.
This paper contributes to the body of knowledge by analyzing and comparing the performance of highway cost estimation models, identifying and categorizing a comprehensive list of cost drivers to stimulate future studies in improving highway construction cost estimates.
Awuku, B., Asa, E., Baffoe-Twum, E. and Essegbey, A. (2022), "Conceptual cost estimation of highway bid items – A systematic literature review", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-03-2022-0266
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