The lecture provides a short history of the development of road pavement management systems (PMS) from the late 1960s to the present day and ends by highlighting issues that require further research. The close link between economic progress and a good road transport system was instrumental in driving the early development of PMS, especially systems for use in the poorer countries of the world where it is vital that investments in the road transport system are chosen so as to provide the highest economic returns. In the early days there was insufficient knowledge about all of the components required to produce a complete working system; for example, not enough was known about the effects of different maintenance strategies on road performance, or about the interaction between the condition of a road surface and the cost of operating vehicles upon it. By the mid 1970s, largely as a result of initiatives by the World Bank and the UK's Department for Economic Development, sufficient research had been done to provide the knowledge required to create prototype systems. The lecture shows how such systems have evolved to assist with strategic level (long-term) decision making, network level planning (to optimise the rolling annual investment over the (whole) lives of the roads), and individual project level design. The importance of an integrated approach to project and network level planning is emphasised. The problems of dealing with data are addressed and a practical step-wise method is advocated which will reduce the costs of data collection. Multi-criteria analysis is introduced for taking non-monetary benefits into account and the challenge of incorporating asset valuation into the decision process is highlighted. Several case studies are used throughout the lecture to illustrate the points raised.

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