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Released June 2, 2004

Web-based program will determine road user costs

HATTIESBURG -- The University of Southern Mississippi and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) have entered into a research contract to develop Web-based computer software that will calculate road user costs in the state.

Developed by faculty and students in the Construction Engineering Technology program, the software will enable the MDOT to compare road construction costs against driving delays caused by the construction. Road user costs are the sum of the cost of running a vehicle, the value of travel time and the cost of traffic accidents.

The MDOT invested more than $759 million on road construction and maintenance in fiscal year 2003.

"This investment is very important because of the direct impact on the economic development of the state and the improved quality of life for its citizens," said Dr. Tulio Sulbaran, one of two professors working on the project through Southern Miss' research center, Innovation for Construction and Engineering Enhancement (ICEE).

Professor David Marchman and students Carlos Sterling and Blake Howe are also developing the software. Jeff Pierce, Nelson Sellers and Robert Burt are members of the MDOT Planning Division and are heading this initiative under the leadership of Ray Balentine.

Also used to compare construction alternatives, the software will allow the MDOT to evaluate the different road construction sequences using a cost/benefit analysis. The final result of this process is to determine the best cost by comparing the minimum construction cost for new road projects in Mississippi and the impact on the driving public.

"This software will place Mississippi at the forefront of the nation in terms of the latest technology, current techniques, current terminology and information used in the calculation of road user costs to be used by MDOT for contracts for road construction," Marchman said.

For more information about the Mississippi Road User Cost (MSRUC) project, contact Dr. Tulio Sulbaran by e-mail at or Robert Burt by e-mail at For more information about the School of Engineering Technology at Southern Miss, call (601) 266-4896.


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June 4, 2004 4:25 PM