In recent years footways have been the subject of little research despite being a major part of urban highways and residential areas. The increase in litigation following pedestrian injury accidents has highlighted the need to invest in the design, construction and maintenance requirements of footways including assessment of the cost benefits of surface treatment against reconstruction. The introduction of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and the code of practice issued under the Act entitled Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways (DOT et al 1992) is also likely to have a significant effect on the condition of the footway. It is estimated that Local Authorities each spend between 3m and 4m annually on footway maintenance. The average County spends about 25 per cent of its structural maintenance budget on footway repairs, whereas in District and Metropolitan areas the figure is nearer to 50 per cent. In October 1991, the Working Party on Highway Research set up a Footway Maintenance Working Group to address all aspects of footway maintenance and to report firstly, on the present range of UK footway maintenance practice and, within that range, to highlight good practice and secondly, to identify areas where research may be needed. This report, compiled by the Working Group, is based on information obtained from a questionnaire survey of the Department of Transport (DOT), Department of the Environment (DOE) Northern Ireland, Scottish Office (SO) and thirty highway authorities. The group's initial aims were to consider and report upon: causes of footway problems; development of improved materials and repair techniques; development of equipment and techniques to economically monitor footway condition; definition of warning levels and intervention criteria; application of whole life cost concepts; methods of management; design and construction; needs of the mobility handicapped; and current footway research.

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