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Course 1.011: Project Evaluation

Lecturer: Carl D. Martland (martlan@mit..., 3-5326, Room 1-153)
Teaching Assistant: Lexcie Lu
Spring Term 2003: Mon, Wed, Fri at 10.00 in Room 9-057
Office Hours: by e-mail appointment only, or find me in Room 1-151, weekdays noon-17.30.
MIT Center for Transportation Studies


Methodologies for evaluating civil engineering projects, which typically are large-scale, long-lived projects involving many economic, financial, social, and environmental factors. Basic techniques of engineering economics, including net present value analysis, life-cycle costing, benefit-cost analysis, and other approaches to project evaluation. Resource and cost estimation procedures appropriate for large-scale infrastructure systems Incorporating service quality, risk, environmental impacts, and other factors within the evaluation process. Examples drawn from building design & construction, transportation systems, urban development, environmental projects, water resource management, and other elements of both the public and private infrastructure.

Required Text: Sullivan, Bontadelli and Wicks, Engineering Economy, Prentice Hall, 11th edition.


General Overview Material


Part I -- Introduction to Civil & Environmental Engineering Projects

Viewgraphs & Assignments Supplemental Notes



Part II -- Life Cycle Costs

Viewgraphs & Assignments Supplemental Notes


Quiz 1 and Review

Good luck on Friday.


Part III -- Comparing Benefits and Costs

Viewgraphs & Assignments Supplemental Notes

  • Comparing Costs & Benefits (Lecture 12)
  • Comparing Alternatives (Lecture 13)
  • Assignment 4 was handed out in Lecture 12. You should attempt the practice problems, to ensure that you understand the material in the chapter, then attempt the problem. In Part 2, there are different strategies to deal with the problem: some might be very simple and very cheap, others might involve large infrastructure (or other) investment. The question was vaguely based on the book "A Civil Action", but you don't need the information in the book to answer the question.
  • Prices and Inflation (Lecture 16)
  • Taxes and Depreciation (Lecture 18)
  • Assignment 5 was handed out at this Lecture 13. This is difficult, so begin early. On Friday, there will be a recitation, and therefore an opportunity to ask questions.

  • Notes from Lecture 13 contains some hints on Assignment 5, in case you missed the lecture.
  • Additional Viewgraphs (Lecture 14) were used to illustrate taxes and depreciation.
  • Note on Compounding is now converted to PDF. This note answers a question that a student raised about how to convert annual interest rates to monthly interest rates. You can just divide by twelve (for the purposes of Assignment 5), but you will understand the math a lot better if you downloaded this optional package. The spreadsheet contained in the note is also available. (PDF, XLS, or ZIP)
  • Notes on Assignment 4 detailing common mistakes. Also contains extension material on Risk profiles, Scale of disasters, Risk per event versus probability of event, and Costing different mitigation technologies.
  • Notes on Assignment 5 in which Carl discusses how developers make money without spending a dime of their own cash.
  • Solution to Assignment 5 is not for publication.
  • Assignment 5 Grading Sheet may simplify that task.
  • Handout relating to Assignment 5 was used to illustrate sensitivity analyses that you could perform.

Quiz 2 and Review


Part IV -- Evaluating CEE Projects

Viewgraphs & Assignments Supplemental Notes


Quiz 3 and Review

Optional Reading -- an informative view of Project Evaluation and Life Cycle Costs from a policy perspective


Guest Lecturer: Susan Murcott on Sustainability

Viewgraphs & Assignments Supplemental Notes


  • Notes (Lecture 25) in which students watched the PBS documentary "Mulholland's Dream" and assessed the Los Angeles Water Project in light of the Pinchot four-pronged framework.
  • Notes (Lecture 27) in which the issues in the Mulholland project was discussed.
  • The reading for Lecture 28 can be found at: http://www.iisd.org/pdf/2002/mmsd-sevenquestions.pdf. The link is dead just now, so here's a local copy.
    Seven Questions to Sustainability, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Winnipeg, Canada.

Readings for this part of the course:

Optional Readings -- on Water Resources and Sustainability is available in the 1.011 folders in 1-163. The readings are:


Term Project Presentations -- Programme

Jodie Misiak: Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia PDF PPT Paper, Map, PPT.2
Steve Alpert: The Cross Bronx Expressway in New York City PDF PPT Paper
John R. Velasco: 'Sprinter' Commuter Transit Corridor in San Diego, California PDF PPT Paper
Will Fowler & Alex French: South Station Transportation Center in Boston PDF PPT Paper
Libby Wayman, Michael Star & Ana Albir: Tidal Power in the Severn Channel (England) PDF PPT XLS
David Tobias: Wind Farms off the Shore of Long Island PDF PPT Paper
Ali Baker, Cecily Way & Austin Zimmerman: Oil Pipelines in Alaska PDF PPT Notes, Paper
Wintana Debassay & Patrick Hereford: The Eurostar v.s. The Shinkensen PDF PPT Paper
Alia C. Burton: The Humber Bridge in East Yorkshire, England PDF PPT Map
Abraham Reyes: The Wheeling Bridge in West Virginia PDF PPT Paper, Map
Raquel Escatel: The Tacoma Bridge in Washington State PDF PPT Map
Jennifer Moore: The Carquinez Strait Bridges of Northern California PDF PPT Map
Roberta Hsu & Leslie Robinson: The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel/Whittier Access Project in Alaska PDF PPT Paper
Brittany Price: Building Transportation at over 10,000 ft --
Narrow Gauge Railroads in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado
PDF PPT  
Tom Kilpatrick: Nickajack Damn in the Tenneesee River Valley PDF PPT  
Marc Washington, Jeneane Thomas & Jazlyn Carvajal: WTC PDF PPT  
Constantinos Tsoucalas, Jad Karam, Lyle Paladin-Tripp: Sawkra-Lakbi Road in Oman PDF PPT  


Supplementary Material


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