For nearly a quarter of a century, ARRB’s Dr Tim Martin and Lith Choummanivong have had their eyes on the road - literally.
Studying how roads perform in Australia’s unique combination of extreme weather, heavy vehicle traffic conditions where the gross vehicle mass can be more than 150 tonnes, and sheer size of the road network, has been the focus of their research since 1994.
Now, after reporting annually on their findings, their overall long-term pavement performance study has been published.
It will leave a legacy of better understanding how to prolong the life and durability of our roads, reducing the whole of life-cycle cost, and finding ways Australia could appropriately and fairly charge all road users for their road use should the current road funding model require change.
The duo’s mission was to understand and predict how roads behaved and deteriorated with various surface maintenance strategies under the stress of heavy vehicle traffic loads and Australian weather conditions which can range from blazing heat to below zero.
They studied 79 individual sections of road throughout Queensland, NSW, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia as part of their long-term pavement performance study.
“Previous work in this area had been done in Brazil, Kenya and South Africa, but not for our road conditions,” Dr Martin says.
“Now we’ve built road deterioration models and models for the impact of maintenance for arterial roads in Australia, and they are uniquely Australian.”
Their work has won two Best Paper Awards at North America’s world-renowned International Conference for Managing Pavement Assets, and contemporaries say it may be the most accurate and reliable study of its kind ever produced.
Dr Martin says compared with the $300 billion estimated value of Australia’s road network, the total project funding of just over $6 million during the 24 years of its existence indicates the benefits of the study aimed at reduced road deterioration through using improved pavement management techniques that employ the models from the study.
Want to find out more? Austroads, which published the report containing the ARRB research, is holding a free webinar on Thursday, March 7 at 1pm AEDT for an overview from report authors Lith Choummanivong and Dr Tim Martin. It’s free but registration is essential. Register now!