The UK Roads Board has four sub-groups – the Asset Management Group, the Footway and Cycle track Management Group, the Pavement Condition Management Group and the National Winter Service Research Group (NWSRG).
There is increasing concern about the safety of the workforce employed on highway maintenance, which is a vital and unavoidable activity.
• Through all current and newly established links, influence that all aspects of highway maintenance are carried out in the safest possible way and promulgate best practice through local authorities and the industry.
• Ensuring a Safe Network by considering and managing the safety of the network is a primary driver by ensuring existing and emerging relevant design guidance is appropriate and embedded within local authorities. Considering if any gaps exist in such guidance, physical network safety should be kept on the agenda of all those concerned with Highway Maintenance Management.
Asset management is a well established approach in many other areas, and has recently been applied successfully to highways.
• as part of the overall highway asset management approach, the Roads Board will encourage its application for footways, cycle ways and carriageways, the embedment of current best practice and support and advise on future developments.
• as part of its support to highway asset management approach, the Roads Board will seek to develop clear and relevant definitions for service levels for all parts of the road infrastructure.
The Footways and Cycle tracks Management Group has been investigating best practice in the management and maintenance of footways and cycle tracks.
• to ensure that there is adequate investment in footways and cycle tracks as well as carriageways, by developing;
i. New approaches to risk management
ii. Innovative survey techniques to enable coherent strategies for service standards to be applied
The Roads Board oversaw the revision of the Code of Practice “Well maintained highways” and is producing further detailed guidance on aspects of maintenance, such as the selection of and specifications for thin surfacings.
by leading and endorsing the development of best practice through the production and publication of codes of practice, other technical guidance, standards and specifications.
and recognising there is a need for a code of practice on traffic management aspects of network management to complement its remit for maintaining the infrastructure.
by publishing regular Newsletters, participating in conferences, supporting learned journals, etc. the Board will keep Local Authorities up to date with the work it is undertaking
There is international concern for the sustainability of human activities in the context of the finite resources of the planet and the impacts of human activity – for example CO2c emissions leading to climate change.
• by promoting the most sustainable approaches to road management and maintenance, to deliver the highway services required in the most environmentally sustainable way. Including the minimisation of energy usage, reducing waste and maximising recycling.
• Lead in the coordination of research projects being promoted by the stakeholders within the roads industry which relate to climate change (eg ADEPT, DfT, HTMA). Areas of research include carbon footprint in highway maintenance service, change in legislation in respect of drainage and flooding.
• By responding to new initiatives and/or legislation which will impact upon communities by virtue of public perception in respect to the performance of the asset. E.g. the Floods and Water Bill in response to the Pitt Review places a further requirement on higher tier local authorities to increase understanding about the content and condition of drainage assets. The Board will also consider flooding issues on the road network issues by liaising with Defra.
The Roads Board has led a major initiative to improve the measurement of local road condition, through the TTS and SCANNER project.
• by measuring road condition to estimate funding requirements to achieve defined service levels (and to identify the funding level required to restore road condition – the so called “maintenance backlog”).
The Roads Board has supported the development of a more consistent and reliable approach to measuring and reporting road performance through the SCANNER road condition indicator.
• to work with national governments to develop appropriate performance indicators for the road infrastructure and advise on and support their introduction.
There is widespread concern that the highway maintenance community is failing to attract, train, develop and retain sufficient staff with the capability to manage and maintain roads, footways and cycle tracks effectively, economically and efficiently. The average age of capable and qualified practitioners is rising and the community’s pool of knowledge, expertise and experience is shrinking.
• by engaging with employers as well as those responsible for education, training, development and qualification standards to ensure that sufficient people are available to meet national requirements.
• appraise ongoing initiatives to increase Local Authority Technical capacity and comment upon the learning points from such initiatives.
The public highway is maintained at public expense, which requires funding from taxation or borrowing, either nationally or locally, including private finance arrangements.
• By advising on funding methods and approaches and promote financial solutions that represent best value for money.
• By promoting and sharing best practice on cashable and non-cashable Gershon efficiencies.
• Working with the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Program (HMEP) to provide advice and expertise to that program.
• By consistent application and approaches to the valuation of asset groups to deliver Whole of Government Accounting under the requirements of IFRS.
The Pavement Condition management Group (PCMG), on behalf of the UK Roads Board leads on the development of pavement condition information which is used to support all highway authorities throughout the UK in the delivery of their transport services on local roads, through an integrated asset management approach. UKPMS and SCANNER being the engines for providing pavement condition information into transport asset management plans.