Road infrastructure industry enhances collaboration with PIARC on Road Asset Management

3 February 2020 | Paris, France

Under the New Strategic Plan 2020–2023, the World Road Association (PIARC) held the kick-off meetings for the Theme “Safety and Sustainability” from 29 to 31 January in Champs-sur-Marne (Paris)

The ERF, represented by its Director General Christophe Nicodème, was formally appointed Associated Member of the new Technical Committee 3.3 on Asset management that will play an important role in the Strategic Theme. The ERF Secretariat created a dedicated internal group of experts in this important field to identify what are the challenges to optimise investment while adapting the road infrastructure to new roles in the future mobility.

The meeting started in the first day with a general presentation of the New Strategic Plan of PIARC for 2020 – 2023 and an outline of the Strategic Theme. The second and third days were dedicated to the presentation of the objective of each specific WG and the selection by participants of the WG they wanted to be part of. Concretely, the ERF selected the WG on “Renewal and rejuvenation of aging infrastructure” linked to previous activities and strategic priorities for its members on the topic of Road Asset management (e.g. the ERF Manifesto and the Position Paper on RAM).

Many elements of our road networks are reaching the end of their working lives. Some of them are easy to reinforce or replace, but others are now reaching a point where significant structural or material repair is needed. Changing needs place stress on infrastructure that may not have been considered when they were designed and built (e.g. weight and dimensions of commercial vehicles). Similarly, some assets were built to comply with less stringent safety standards than the ones we are currently meeting today. Bringing those assets up to date carries inherent risks.

The new PIARC WG will develop its activities, considering different challenges, among which: how can road owners evaluate the risks and prioritize strategies for rehabilitation, repair or replacement? How to measure the state of the infrastructure? How to calculate the remaining life of an existing infrastructure? Finally, how to find the funds to evaluate, repair or replace aging road elements?

Aging infrastructure is a global issue with potentially harmful consequences and innovative approaches are required to address this main issue. In this sense, the ERF is pleased to work closely with PIARC on this topic, and to contribute to the improvement of our road infrastructure with innovative approaches for a sustainable management of this essential community asset.