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[NTC2014-SU-R-18] Quantifying and Benchmarking the Delivery Performance of U.S. Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Transportation Projects


As policy makers and transportation officials seek alternative methods to supplement traditional funding sources to finance and deliver transportation projects, the number of public-private partnership (PPP or P3) projects in the U.S. has increased significantly over the past few decades. Scholars have compared the cost and schedule overruns of PPP projects against publicly funded projects in mature PPP markets in Europe, but the studies on the U.S. market have not been as comprehensive. The co-PI’s have completed a preliminary study comparing the cost and schedule overruns of 12 PPP highway projects in North America with previous research studies reporting on large-scale design-bid-build (DBB) and design-build (DB) highway projects. Preliminary results indicate that the PPP sample cost and schedule overruns were considerably smaller as compared to publicly financed large-scale DBB and DB highway projects. With the very limited sample size of the preliminary study, it is premature to draw explicit conclusions regarding the tighter control of highway construction costs and delivery schedules when projects are delivered using the PPP method. Several PPP projects have been completed in the last few years, which will allow to considerably increase the dataset in order to come up with statistically valid conclusions. The proposed study will leverage the extensive previous project delivery research completed by the co-PI’s and will collect comprehensive performance data from PPP projects completed in the U.S. Project performance metrics that will be investigated include cost, schedule, safety, quality, and additional metrics that enhance economic value afforded to travelers. The quantitative PPP project performance data will be collected through a series of interviews with project executives, and then findings from previous studies of traditional delivery methods will be used for as a comparison. This study will provide statistically-valid empirical evidence for the advantages and limitations of the PPP project delivery method, as well as serve as a benchmark to compare the appropriateness of different methods to deliver transportation projects.