A free highways asset management tool aimed at the ‘pavement level’, to give engineers detailed options on the wide variety of asphalt and the treatment solutions, is now available.
Hosted on the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) website, the tool was developed over six months in consultation with the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) and is freely available to RSTA members and local authorities. The tool was developed by TRL at its own cost.
A spokeswoman for TRL said: ‘The tool, which is part of TRL’s iROADS suite of software, was launched at the annual conference of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) in response to growing local authority demand for an asset management tool which can rank the economic benefit and life-cycle costs of different treatment options.
‘Any [RSTA] member or local authority interested in gaining access to the tool can request a login by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.’
The RSTA said users will need advance training for the tool and it hopes to launch training sessions to help roll it out across the country. Sessions are likely to last a day and could have a small charge attached to cover costs, RSTA chief executive Howard Robinson said.
‘We are mindful that most councils probably don’t have a big training budget, so the costs will be kept as low as possible,’ he added.
Speaking to Transport Network, Mr Robinson said: ‘It is fully comprehensive tool and includes all of the road surface options, all of the asphalt options and the treatment options. This tool will allow you to come up with the most cost effective strategy at the pavement level but you do need to know what the treatment options are and how to use the tool. The training is very critical.
‘Whereas the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme’s tool is more strategic, ours it at the pavement level. It gives engineers the most economic option over a defined period and takes into account issues such as costs per square metre, the service life of different options and their life cycle. It should help councils save money and get better at managing their highways assets and make better informed decisions.
‘It is difficult to get into figures but the savings from using the tool can be quite significant.'
The RSTA was originally asked to develop the tool by the Midlands Service Improvement Group and put together an industry wide working group to help the development.
Members included representatives from key bodies such as the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, the Local Government Technical Advisers Group, and the Highways Term Maintenance Association.
The RSTA annual conference this year boasted a record attendance of more than 220 people.