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Refining Return on Investment Methodology/Tool for MnPAss

Project #: 4W5378
Start Date: 04/08/2015
End Date: 06/30/2017
Status: Completed

As described in the final report, the researchers in this study investigated a more comprehensive set of factors, variables, and perspectives to include within the
refined ROI analysis framework based on the limitations summarized in the current MnPASS BCA methodology; the major concerns identified from agency staff interviews; and available data resources. The selected cost components included initial capital costs, annual operating and maintenance costs, remaining capital value, and the potential benefit components consisted of travel time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, safety benefits, travel time reliability, transit benefit, induced traffic, emergency response, emissions impacts, and noise impacts. Tractable calculation methods were further explored for each cost and benefit measurement in order to facilitate use of the economic analysis tool. To verify the performance of the proposed methodology, the research team conducted a comparative demonstration, which produced a higher benefit-cost ratio than previous work. Furthermore, the contributions from additional benefit considerations highlighted the importance of integrating a wider range of project impact categories in the MnPASS ROI analyses.


A refined return on investment (ROI) methodology is needed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to supplement existing benefit-cost analysis (BCA) tools, data, and methodologies available to evaluate MnPASS priced managed lane projects. This will facilitate more consistent and standardized measures for MnPASS system assessment and comparison. The ultimate issue in these ROI assessments is how to best define the benefits and costs of potential MnPASS corridors and alternatives. However, as stated in current MnPASS system studies (e.g. MnPASS System Study Phase II, the I-35W North Managed Lanes Study), the existing benefit/cost analysis tool typically includes a fairly narrow range of performance measures, specifically user benefits in the form of travel time, operating cost, and crashes. In addition, the current ROI methodologies and tool may introduce inconsistencies, as different projects may utilize different assumptions in estimating benefits and costs from the proposed development.

The objective of this project is to develop a refined, consistent and standardized ROI methodology and tool for better assessing MnPASS programs and projects. The emphasis here is to investigate a more comprehensive set of factors, variables and perspectives to include within the refined ROI analysis framework, such as the transit impacts and weekend benefits (e.g. additional benefits accrued on the weekends) that are not included within the existing economic analysis, and incorporate broader benefits from MnPASS system operations (e.g. travel time reliability, network-level user benefits). Addressing the challenges of incorporating these concerns and impacts will be a key part of the refined methodology. Ultimately, this project will identify existing best practices of ROI assessment for the MnPASS system, and provide recommendations for conducting standardized ROI processes to evaluate the financial effectiveness of MnPASS as a long term regional mobility strategy.


The objective of this project is to develop a refined, consistent and standardized return on investment (ROI) methodology and tool for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, to be used for better assessing MnPASS (managed lane) programs and projects.


  • Na Cui
    Na Cui
  • David Veneziano
    David Veneziano