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Date: June 2019 | Client: Office of Rail and Road (ORR) | Sector: Transport | Highways | Expertise: Public policy

Highways benchmarking: pavement condition

CEPA, alongside TRL, have twice been commissioned by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to assess how pavement condition is measured, in the UK and beyond, and examine the feasibility of making comparisons between Highways England and selected Highways Authorities.

Design of pavement condition metrics

Highways England is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the Strategic Road Network (SRN) in England. ORR undertakes the on-going monitoring of Highways England’s performance by observing and reporting on the performance required in the Performance Specification which forms part of the Road Investment Strategy (RIS). As part of the first Road Investment Strategy (RIS1), one of the metrics Highways England is formally assessed against is KPI8, the key performance indicator (KPI) for pavement condition, measured as the percentage of the network that needs no further investigation for possible maintenance.

In our initial piece of analysis, CEPA and TRL considered how pavement metrics are designed and measured across several organisations that are comparable to Highways England, including Local Authorities (LAs), Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government, selected European nations, and other developed countries. The objective of this work was to assess what other road management agencies do in terms of measuring and monitoring pavement condition, and the extent to which this can be compared to the approach adopted by Highways England.

 Composition of pavement condition data

Our initial study provided ORR with an understanding of different approaches taken to measuring and monitoring pavement condition. In our second piece of analysis, CEPA and TRL considered the composition and level of detail of pavement condition data across highway authorities that are comparable to Highways England. The objective of this project was to assess the feasibility of making direct comparisons of pavement condition data between Highways England and these comparators. Case studies were used to assess the feasibility of taking forward direct comparisons of pavement conditions using Highways England’s pavement metric, and also comparisons using metrics used by the comparators examined.

To find out more, please contact our experts listed below.

Ivan Viehoff
Chief Economist United Kingdom