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The Highway Element Investment Review (HEIR) Guidelines: Making the Right Decisions in Ontario


The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships defines public-private partnerships (P3s) as “a cooperative venture between the public and private sectors, built on the expertise of each partner, that best meets clearly defined public needs through the appropriate allocation of resources, risks and rewards” [1]. P3 projects are becoming an increasingly popular mechanism for providing infrastructure works in Canada, however, challenges remain. In terms of highway infrastructure, a P3 project may meet standard, but standard and safe are not synonymous – standards represent minimum requirements that are intended to be met or exceeded. How can the public be assured that the design achieves a level of safety that is comparable to other projects, that safety has not been compromised in order to reduce costs? The Highway Element Investment Review (HEIR) Guidelines recently developed by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation provide one means of ensuring that P3 projects look beyond standards in developing the highway design. Within the guidelines, an approach is given for comparing the cost of a particular measure against the anticipated safety and operational benefits. Such information provides a basis for justifying design decisions and selecting among alternatives. The guidelines apply to new construction and rehabilitation projects involving both traditional and non-traditional (e.g., P3) funding arrangements, allowing decisions to be made that include explicit consideration of costeffectiveness. This paper provides a general introduction to the HEIR Guidelines and outlines their potential value for P3 and non-P3 projects alike. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Jennifer Armstrong
Jason Loftus
Jim Weir
Wilf Roy
Geometric design