The background for the project is the concern about loss of maintenance expertise in the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) and in the business sector, for which several causes can be identified:
- NPRA lost both expertise and experience when the Production Department was separated from NPRA in 2003 and became a commercial company;
- introduction of competitive tendering has caused a sector-wide shift of focus from maintenance practices to competitive bidding, contracts, terms of settlement, etc.
- over the next few years many employees will reach retirement age, and important experience may disappear.
In addition, experience has shown that contractors are unwilling to spend their resources on long-term research. The Roads Authority must therefore actively stimulate innovation in the sector.
The main objective is to increase maintenance expertise, not only for NPRA, but for the whole road maintenance sector in Norway.
An additional aim of the project is to establish systems, routines and procedures that help develop expertise in the future.
The project focuses on five different areas:
- Making road maintenance more visible to politicians and the general public: increase status and recruitment.
- Training and education: improve knowledge of road maintenance at all levels within the sector.
- Specialisation: encourage more PhD studies and other forms of specialisation in the field of road maintenance.
- Research: develop and implement new technologies and knowledge.
- Exchange of experience: collect, systematise and disseminate maintenance experience.
The main task has been gathering information to have a basis for planning the activities. An analysis was carried out to map the need for competence in the future for the different tasks in the road maintenance sector.
There have been arranged meetings with road authorities and training organizations in Denmark, Sweden and Finland to discuss the possibilities for cooperation with them.
Seminars are arranged with participation from the maintenance sector to discuss and produce ideas how to improve methods and equipment for road maintenance.
7 teams are established to work with activities which require a lot of work while minor activities are carried out by the subproject groups.
Subproject 1- Making road maintenance more visible: Videos, a new home page and different materials were produced to inform about the project and all aspects of road maintenance. The focus was to present all the positive and challenging sides of road maintenance.
Subproject 2 -Training and education: Existing educational curriculum from universities, colleges and private firms are mapped and an existing winter training course is revised. A winter training course for truck drivers and maintenance workers was developed.
Subproject 3 - Specialization and research: The subproject has initiated a Post-Doc study of winter friction. Support is given to establish a laboratory to study winter conditions.
Subproject 4 - Exchange of experience: The team is looking for practical ICT solutions, for exchange of experience, not only between maintenance staff, but also for the possibility to give maintenance experience from different constructions to them who are planning and building roads. A database containing pictures from maintenance activities and road standard is under construction.
The project is concerned on promotion of road maintenance among the general public and politicians.
The objective of the project is to promote the enhancing of a quality and safety of roads via their maintenance.