Road infrastructure is the basis for the most extensively land transport system in use. Therefore it has to remain structurally intact over decades and has to deliver a high functional performance. Road infrastructure needs to provide a high level of service with as few closures and capacity reductions as possible. At the same time, it has to enable safe driving and keep its environmental impacts limited.
While traffic loads are constantly increasing, the focus of road authorities in many European countries is shifting from new construction to maintenance. Furthermore financial resources are limited, and maintenance budgets are under pressure, potentially leading to a maintenance backlog. These facts challenge infrastructure operators to find cost-optimized maintenance strategies which including life-cycle and sustainability analyses. Road infrastructure asset management therefore needs reliable and accurate data on both the current state of the infrastructure and on the development of key performance characteristics over time.
The AIT Austrian Institute of Technology supports road infrastructure asset management with its research capabilities and facilities in the field of road condition monitoring and assessment. The RoadSTAR road condition monitoring laboratory of AIT provides accurate and objective data on road surface condition, road layout and road equipment without disrupting the traffic flow. It provides results from periodic surveys of entire road networks, enabling informed decision making on the optimal time and type of maintenance interventions. At the same time these data can be used to increase road safety by identifying and optimizing the relevant infrastructure parameters like skid resistance or rutting. In addition to constantly improving the monitoring technology, AIT experts also work on developing new performance indicators to better describe the road properties influencing e.g. ride comfort, safety, noise emission or rolling resistance. In order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of road infrastructure, models for the long-term development of the key indicators are developed and verified by real-life monitoring results.