Road Equipment Procurement and Utilization Study

Project Details







Iowa Department of Transportation

Principal Investigator
Ed Jaselskis
Co-Principal Investigator
Stephen Andrle

About the research

This study has investigated the procurement and use of construction and maintenance equipment owned or leased by public entities in Iowa that receive road use tax moneys. The findings are provided as a basis for the Iowa Department of Transportation?s (Iowa DOT) recommendation to the Iowa General Assembly as required by House File 324, Section 12. An equipment list was the foundation of a fill-in-the-box survey instrument that collected information regarding number of pieces purchased or leased, procurement method, and percentage of use for maintenance and construction. Both paper and electronic versions of the survey were sent to a total of 378 entities that receive road use tax moneys: all counties in Iowa, all cities in Iowa with populations greater than 5,000, all cities in Iowa with populations between 2,000?5,000, a sample of cities in Iowa with populations less than 2,000, and state agencies including the Iowa Board of Regents institutions, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa DOT, and all state correctional facilities. Most of the equipment subject to the survey was purchased rather than leased (99% versus 1%). Procurement policies vary depending on the responding entity. A formal bidding procedure is typically used for larger agencies such as cities with populations greater than 5,000 and the Iowa DOT. Smaller cities tend to purchase equipment used. Results reveal most of the purchased equipment is used for maintenance (94.1%) rather than for construction (5.9%). Most agencies used their equipment with utilization rates around 80% on average. Small cities appear to underutilize equipment, with utilization rates averaging 42%. A few recommendations based on the study results are provided to enhance the procurement process for entities receiving road use tax funds. In order to encourage equipment sharing between agencies, a list of an agency?s equipment could be made available so that other organizations could have access. Procurement policies could also be modified such that equipment is selected based on the lowest life-cycle cost as opposed to the lowest initial bid price.