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ROad Cost Knowledge System


    Road agencies, contractors, consultants and financial institutions require road costs information, which in general is locally available, but many times this information is scattered, and collected in unsystematic and unstructured ways. These entities need to assess cost differences, for example, among states and regions, but do not have a framework to compare road costs in a consistent manner.

    In 1999, in response to this demand, the World Bank made a first attempt to collect this information from 67 Implementation Completion Reports of Bank-financed projects that were implemented in the period 1995 - 1999. The study found that the level of detail provided in these type of documents was limited and that there was a worldwide need for a framework to collect this type of information systematically. Consequently, the Bank decided to develop a simple system to collect road costs.


    With funds provided by Dutch Trust Fund, and primarily based on the experience of Bank staff and the information contained in roads and highways projects in selected road agencies in developing countries, the Transport Unit of the World Bank developed the ROad Costs Knowledge System (ROCKS). The main objective of the system is to develop an international knowledge system on road work costs -to be used primarily in developing countries but not necessary restricted to developing countries- to establish an institutional memory, and obtain average and range of unit costs based on historical data that could ultimately improve the reliability of new cost estimates and reduce the risks generated by cost overruns. The main outputs of this initiative so far are the following five products:

    PRODUCT 1. The ROCKS Framework is based on the following five key concepts that characterize the system, and provide the foundation to achieve its objective and intended outputs: a) systematically classify the different road work types and predominant work activities; b) collect unit costs, depending on the type of work, in currency/km or currency/m2; c) establish a minimum set of data requirements; d) add flexibility to the system by defining a set of highly recommended data, and a series of optional data; and e) collect the data on any currency and reference date.

    PRODUCT 2. The ROCKS Components consist of a Database, which is the main element of the system, and the following three complementary Modules to view the information collected, and generate statistics: a) ROCKS View Module that can be used to merge, filter, sort, view and print the information stored in the ROCKS Databases; b) ROCKS Statistics Module that is used to merge, filter, generate statistical reports, and analyze the information stored in the ROCKS Databases; and c) ROCKS Disbursements Module that is a tool to translate a time stream of actual disbursements into a single constant cost for a selected base year. Download the ROCKS system (Excel, Word and PowerPoint files stored on a compressed ZIP file with 2,670 Kb and dated 09/09/02).

    PRODUCT 3. The ROCKS Development Network was identified and established by the World Bank Transport Unit with a selected group of road agencies worldwide in order to properly test its features and develop the system. The first version of the system was tested in five countries in Asia and later an improved second version was tested in four countries in Africa and Europe. Now that the System is properly tested and a worldwide ROCKS dissemination phase has started, the objective is to add to this network any other country, organization or person, interested on collecting data and/or refining the System. Obtain information on how you or your organization can participate and contribute to this worldwide initiative.

    PRODUCT 4. The ROCKS Worldwide Database created with data collected primarily from World Bank Implementation Completion Reports, Project Appraisal Documents, and actual Civil Works Contracts, but also from Project Supervision Reports, Pavement Management Information Systems, and Procurement and Disbursements Reports. It has more than 1,500 records. All data has been compiled into a single Excel file and provides the basis for future data collection. Display or download in MS-Excel the information collected up to 09/09/02.

    PRODUCT 5. The Set of Preliminary Average and Range Unit Costs, which provides costs for a selected number of work types and predominant work activities in a selected single currency (US dollars) and a single reference date (year 2000). Display or download in MS-Excel the set of preliminary average and range unit costs estimated up to 09/09/02.


    A preliminary sample set of outputs was prepared to show what type of information can be produced and presented with the data stored on ROCKS. For the time being, these sample outputs are not generated automatically by ROCKS, but require some data manipulation and presentation done on MS-Excel.


    The entire ROCKS system including all the data collected and modules developed are part of the English ROCKS Dissemination Package that includes the following files.

    Microsoft Excel Documents (xls)
    • ROCKS - Database - WORLD (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Database - EMPTY (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Module - Disbursements (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Module - View (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Module - Statistics (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Data Collection Form (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Road Works Classification (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Annex 1 - Set of Statistics Report (Version 2.01)

    Microsoft Word Documents (doc)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Executive Summary (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - User's Manual (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Read Me First (Version 2.01)

    Microsoft Power Point Document (ppt)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Annex 2 - PowerPoint Pres. (Version 2.01)

    Download the ROCKS system (Excel, Word and PowerPoint files stored on a compressed ZIP file with 2,670 Kb and dated 09/09/02).


    The main components of the ROCKS System were translated to Spanish and are part of the Spanish ROCKS Dissemination Package that includes the following files.

    Microsoft Excel Documents (xls)
    • ROCKS - Database - VACIA (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Data Collection Form - Spanish (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Road Works Classification - Spanish (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Diccionario English-Spanish (Version 2.01)

    Microsoft Word Documents (doc)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - User's Manual - Spanish (Version 2.01)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Read Me First - Spanish (Version 2.01)

    Microsoft Power Point Document (ppt)
    • ROCKS - Documentation - Presentation - Spanish (Version 2.01)

    Spanish users should download these files to complement the English ROCKS Dissemination Package and then read the file "ROCKS - Documentation - Read Me First - Spanish (Version 2.01)" for further instructions.

    Download the ROCKS system Spanish files (Excel, Word and PowerPoint files stored on a compressed ZIP file with 975 Kb and dated 09/09/02).

    The World Bank provides no warranty in terms of correctness, accuracy, currentness reliability or otherwise regarding the system. The user relies on the products of the software and the results solely at his or her own risk. In no event will the World Bank or anyone else who has been involved in the creation of this product be liable for its application or misapplication in the field. The World Bank reserves the right to make revisions and changes from time to time without obligation to notify any person of such revisions and changes.

    For more information contact:

    The World Bank
    Transport & Urban Development Department
    1818 H Street NW
    Washington, DC 20433

    Fax: 1-202-522-3223

    Rodrigo Archondo-Callao
    Technical Specialist
    E-mail: rarchondocallao@worldbank.org

    Anil Bhandari
    Lead Specialist
    E-mail: abhandari@worldbank.org

    Alberto Nogales
    E-mail: anogales@worldbank.org


    The ROCKS system was developed in the Transport Unit - TUDTR of the World Bank by a team led by Anil Bhandari and comprising Rodrigo Archondo-Callao and Alberto Nogales under the direction of John Flora, Director of the Transport and Urban Development Department. This initiative was funded by the Dutch Trust Fund TF038504.

    The system benefited from the inputs of an Advisory Group comprising Alain Labeau, Antti Talvitie, Cesar Queiroz, Christopher Hoban, Terje Wolden, and William D.O. Patterson. Assistance from staff of TUDTR, particularly, Benedictus Eijbergen, Jerry Lebo, Mirtha Araujo, Tipawan Bhutaprateep, and Barbara A. Gregory, is also acknowledged.

    Strategic guidance was received from the Transport Sector Managers: Eva Molnar, Guang Zhe Chen, Jitendra Bajpai, Jose Luis Irigoyen, and Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard; and overall advice and support from the following transport staff in headquarters and in the regions: A. K. Swaminathan, Alok Nath Bansal, Amer Durrani, Chinnakorn Chantra, Elena Kastlerova, Gevorg Sargsyan, Imogene R. Jensen, Jean-Charles Crochet, Kazi Mahbub-Al Matin, Labite Victorio Ocaya, Mohi Uz Zaman Quazi, Natarajan Raman, Nga Thi Quynh Dang, Ramiz Al-Assar, Robert Kietlinski, Sally L. Burningham, Stein Lundebye, Sujit Das, Tawia Addo-Ashong, Thach Ngoc Phan, Yitzhak A. Kamhi, and Zhi Liu.

    A selected group of road agencies contributed to the development of the system, provided access to the data, and tested the system: the Roads SSCC Agency in Armenia, the Roads and Highways Department - RHD in Bangladesh, the Ghana Highway Authority - GHA; the Central Road Research Institute - CRRI, and National Highways Authority - NHAI in India, the Department of Public Works and Highways - DPWH in the Philippines, the General Directorate of Public Roads - GDDP in Poland, the Department of Highways - DOH in Thailand, the Road Agency Formation Unit - RAFU in Uganda, and the Planning and Investment Department of the Ministry of Transport in Vietnam.

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