Cost Contingencies, Development Basis, and Project Application

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - scheduling, planning - methods, land use - planning, economics - capital costs, organisation - management, mode - mass transit


Transit, Schedule contingencies, Public transit, Project management, Project development process, Oversight, Mass transit, Local transit, Cost performance, Cost control, Cost contingencies, Contingency planning, Construction scheduling, Construction projects, Construction practice, Construction methods, Construction management, Capital investments, Capital costs


Research was conducted for the FTA Office of Program Management to refine contingency estimation and application within the transit project development process. General analytical methodologies were developed for contingencies, and applications were suggested for the estimation of contingency values, including cost and schedule contingencies proposed for the related Project Management Oversight Program guidance. The results present various cost and schedule contingency approaches that have been applied successfully to major transit projects and other public infrastructure projects examined within the research. The results of the research indicate which contingency applications and values may contribute to more successful project management in the future. These strategies, tools, and techniques form the basis to the conclusions for this research. The cost performance of construction projects is a key success criterion for project sponsors, including the grantees and the FTA. Major transit capital projects have, at times, overrun initial and subsequent project budgets. Cost contingency has been proposed by many funding and research organizations to manage cost escalation and maintain project budgets. Schedule contingencies have been proposed more recently similarly to control and manage schedule delays, because of their identified cost impacts. Estimation of cost and schedule contingencies and its ultimate adequacy is of critical importance to projects. The results of the research present various cost and schedule contingency concepts, including definition of terms, estimation of values, and application of contingency approaches within the transit project development process.