• Road maintenance treatments comparison software tool

Summary

In partnership with the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) TRL developed free software for highways authorities to help them identify the most cost effective and appropriate road surface treatments for their needs.

The Challenge

There are over 150 highways authorities in the UK as well as UK national government agencies and other organisations that maintain roads. They are supported by a supply chain of consultants, contractors and suppliers who all have an interest in providing cost effective road maintenance treatments.

TRL and the RSTA identified a need for the treatments comparison software, based on the sophisticated and extensive range of treatments available and the many different conditions and applications that highways authorities must accommodate. The aim was to help authorities narrow down their choices to the most cost effective while making sure that they are aware of and able to compare the most relevant technologies and treatments for their particular needs.

Our Approach

TRL and the RSTA formed an industry working party with representatives from the Highway Term Maintenance Association (HTMA), the local government Technical Advisors Group (TAG), the MSIG Highway Maintenance and Asset Management Group and the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT). With its input and guidance, we developed the software over six months.

The finished tool was launched at the 2016 RSTA conference as part of TRL’s iROADS asset management software suite. It is a free resource for public sector organisations. The software lets users choose different maintenance treatments from a comprehensive selection and compare their performance. They can configure the treatment data to match their own recorded data for performance and expected life in local conditions. This helps make the comparisons and recommendations as accurate as possible in the real-world environment.

The Results

The new tool meets growing local authority demand for asset management software with enhanced planning and budgeting capability. It means that the public sector can make sound investment decisions based on the greatest efficiency, demonstrating best practice in the highways maintenance industry.

It’s an excellent example of public and private sector collaboration. Suppliers can engage more effectively with local authorities and show where their products or services deliver most value in a plan to reduce the whole life cost of road maintenance. The public sector users can rapidly calculate the cost-benefit analysis and drive sustained cost reductions as well as more efficiently planning road maintenance for the longer term.

Since launch, the RSTA has included the tool in its training seminars, with TRL providing an introduction and hands-on training. Demand for the tool continues to grow and further induction events are continually being scheduled for new users.

“This tool will support sound investment decisions for the public sector and enable RSTA members to demonstrate how their products and services can help deliver the best return on the investment made in local roads. Prevention is better than cure, and so it is essential that we are aware of the full spectrum of surface treatment options, and understand where they fit in our lifecycle plans.”
Clive Hall, Head of Highways and Community Services for Herefordshire Council and Vice Chair of the MSIG highway maintenance and asset management task group.

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