Date of Award

Spring 7-17-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Keith R. Molenaar

Second Advisor

Stuart Anderson

Third Advisor

James Diekmann

Fourth Advisor

Matthew Hallowell

Fifth Advisor

Mehmet Ozbek


Project delivery methods and contracting strategies allocate risk for design and construction between contractual parties. Selecting an appropriate delivery method is a critical to the success of highways and other infrastructure projects. The selection is often made early in the project development process. At the time of the decision, the owner and stakeholders often have little information and projects lack details to make accurate judgments about final project costs. Researcher and practitioners have striven to develop tools and techniques to support the project delivery decision, but most are qualitative approaches. In the last decade, transportation agencies have successfully applied cost and schedule risk analyses on their major projects, but they make project delivery decisions independently from these risk analyses. This dissertation capitalizes on the opportunity to apply quantitative risk analysis techniques to the highway project delivery selection process. This dissertation employs content analysis, survey research, univariate and multivariate analysis, and cross-impact analysis techniques to develop a risk-based model to quantitatively make informed delivery decisions. The dissertation follows a three-journal paper format. The first paper focuses on investigating the impact of risk on design-build (DB) Delivery. The DB method was selected as the main research setting for this paper because its risk allocation mechanism tends to be more complex than the traditional design-bid-build (DBB) or alternative construction manager/general contractor (CMGC) delivery method. The second paper advances understanding of how risk impacts the three fundamental delivery methods commonly used in highways: DBB, DB, and CMGC. Building upon these results, the third paper develops a risk-based model to quantify the impact of risk and delivery methods on project cost. It provides for an understanding of the optimal delivery method for an individual highway design and construction project. The dissertation contributes to theory by introducing a new approach to selecting project delivery methods. This dissertation also addresses a practical need to increase understanding of how risks impact project delivery selection in the highway design and construction industry.

Available for download on Thursday, July 18, 2019