Design and Production

The challenges faced by the road infrastructure sector are to develop demand-driven, reliable, durable, ­sustainable and high tech European infrastructure. These objectives imply the development of efficient techniques, methods and tools to support renewed and innovative design, construction and management approaches. These are key elements of the competitiveness of the industrial sector. Success is determined by the development of an industrial sector of construction, attractive in term of employment, well positioned from an economic point of view, and bringing technological progress that meets new expectations and demands of users and the society. Industry seeks to answer this challenge, but it requires a significant research and development effort.

The main orientations identified through developing the vision, the concerns and needs reaffirmed by stakeholders and the issues highlighted for the industrial sector, the objectives regarding design and products system with their corresponding axes of innovations and progress, translate into the following R&D needs: They are relevant to:

  • Sustainable asset management.
  • Renewed approach of the infrastructure design
  • Reduction of natural risk.

More transversally, design and products is also directly addressed by progress to be made in terms of:

  • Effective implementation of research results.
  • Facilitating innovation.
  • Pre-normative research.
  • Private and public partnership.
  • Knowledge management.
  • Development of design and assessment tools, able to take into account a more integrated and global approach.
  • Development of advanced design and simulation tools with the perspective to develop tools easy to implement, not only accessible to specialists.

Therefore, the key challenges are for road infrastructure to be designed, constructed and maintained in a cost-efficient and sustainable way. Innovation should be introduced as quickly as possible through comprehensive determination of its lifetime performance. Road infrastructure should also be well integrated in its environment contributing to its management in terms of noise and vibration absorption. Finally, through simulation, monitoring and performance prediction, the lifetime of the infrastructure and its maintenance methods will be optimised.

  • Kenneth Gavin (UCD)
  • Jos Wessels (TNO)