The civil infrastructure within our countries represent large public investments and are expected to provide services for very long periods of time, often being operational for many generations. As we all witnessed in the last 20 years, infrastructure underwent a lot of dramatic changes in order to adapt and support the accessibility needed for transporting goods and people. It is therefore important to make the right choices when investing in infrastructure, as it should support future societal developments for the next 20 to 30 years as well.
The road sector faces many substantial challenges, including:
• Ambitious demands such as better, quicker and cheaper construction and maintenance.
• Minimization of road downtime for maintenance activities; the overall quality of the constructions has to be upgraded.
• Tightening time slots available for repair and rehabilitation works, meaning that maintenance techniques have to be sped up.
• Increasing stringency of the environmental regulations with respect to air pollution and noise emissions by traffic and the use of natural raw materials.
It is common knowledge that the road-engineering sector does not have the reputation of being the most sparkling innovative industry. They have been able to meet the growing road transport demands over the last decades, by incremental upgrades of the infrastructure. Without drastically changing the concepts of design and methods of physical/mechanical material testing, the sector has managed to improve the performance of road infrastructure and related components.
The complexity of infrastructure works and the complexity of the problems requiring solutions is growing. Due to their technical limitations, existing concepts, common models and testing facilities it will no longer be possible to generate adequate solutions in the long run. In order to secure reliable infrastructure, to find smarter solutions for maintenance and service combined with higher regulation demands, it is necessary to invest in supportive systems, such as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems.