Strategic Theme 4 - Resilient Infrastructure
Roads are important, and in some cases even critical, infrastructures that make an important contribution to the social and economic well-being of the society. In this context, ensuring the availability, safety and reliability of road transport infrastructure is crucial. This should include, in addition to normal operation, in particular planning, preparation, response and rehabilitation in the event of unplanned and unforeseen natural or other events, and also includes the safe operation of road networks in the event of events that may have an indirect impact on availability and reliable operation, such as pandemics or black swan events.
Against this background, owners and operators of roads are required to proactively manage risks for the infrastructure itself and its users. This poses the challenge of assessing all existing threats and, if necessary, taking measures to ensure availability as far as possible under all conditions.
Based on the above mentioned challenges, the Strategic Theme 4 "Resilient Infrastructure" addresses topics such as: technologies and innovations, design and construction, safety, preservation, sustainability, resilience, as well as, standardization, developing four Technical Committees and one Task Force.
Interview with Jürgen Krieger
Strategic Theme 4 "Resilient Infrastructure" Coordinator
Jürgen Krieger is a senior director at the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) and he has a longstanding collaboration with PIARC.
Jürgen was the Chair of the PIARC Technical Committee "Adaptation Strategies/Resiliency" during the 2016-2019 cycle and he has been selected to coordinate Strategic Theme 4 “Resilient Infrastructure”.
Due to their special and overarching importance, innovation and resilience have been identified as cross-cutting issues within the Strategic Plan 2020-2023.
Overall, in selecting the topics for the Strategic Theme 4 Resilient Infrastructure, importance was given to achieving a good balance between more traditional topics, such as construction materials and methods including sustainability aspects, infrastructure management, operation and user safety, and more innovative topics such as resilience, new technologies as well as challenges and opportunities arising from the rapidly advancing digital transformation.
Technical Committee 4.1 "Pavements" focuses not only on topics relating to innovative methods and procedures for maintenance, including the identification of solutions for maintaining the availability during the execution of maintenance measures as well as the future use of data-driven approaches for the monitoring of pavements, but also on aspects of sustainability (recycling and carbon footprint). Issues related to the improvement of the resilience of pavements are also addressed within a specific topic.
The subject of resilience also plays a major role in the field of Bridges. Here, the focus is on questions of adaptation to the consequences of climate change and on improving the resilience of bridges in the case of seismic events. In addition, Technical Committee 4.2 "Bridges" will work on the further development of procedures and methods for bridge inspections and the implementation of these new technologies within bridge management systems. Lessons learnt from forensic engineering of bridge collapses will also be considered. Additionally, the use of innovative construction materials for the repair of ageing bridges will be addressed.
In addition to questions concerning the improvement of the resilience of earth structures to natural hazards, Technical Committee 4.3 "Earthworks" focuses in particular on the identification of technologies and innovations in their construction and maintenance. The knowledge gained within the framework of this work will then also be incorporated into the further development of the Earth Work Manual, which will be made available in an updated and expanded version.
As with the Technical Committess mentioned above, the subject of resilience will also be dealt with in a separate issue in Technical Committee 4.4 "Tunnels", where both the construction and maintenance as well as the future use of data-driven approaches for preventive and/or predictive maintenance are addressed. Operating and ensuring the safety of users is a major challenge for owners and operators of road tunnels. Therefore, best practice approaches and successful solutions for the safe operation of heavily traffic urban tunnels as well as the impact of new propulsion technologies on tunnel operation and safety will be investigated. Further work of Technical Committee will address ITS applications for tunnels including the identification of the potential of big data and data analytics applications for the operation of road tunnels as well as the update and improvement of the DG-QRAM risk assessment software for the transport of dangerous goods in tunnels. The results of the work will then also be incorporated into the further development of the Road Tunnels Manual.
In view of the importance of guidelines and standards in the field of road infrastructure, Task Force 4.1 "Road Design Standards" focuses on collecting these standards from several countries and analyzing analogies and differences, taking into account the type of road. This Task Force will also analyze the current reliability of geometric models addressing the new mobility - new propulsion techniques and connected and autonomous driving - as well as will investigate the use of new tools such as Big Data to reconsider design parameters and models based on road user's behavior.