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FeRRM 11: successful sharing of over 25 road research projects and results

Last month (18th–19th October), over 180 road research experts met in Brussels to discuss more than 25 road research projects.

Experts from Europe, the USA, Australia, India, Japan and South Africa discussed the themes of Resources, Recycling and Alternative Materials (on the first day) and Implementation (on the second day) using the road research projects as case studies.

The event opened with the final conference of the DIRECT-MAT project to share knowledge and practices on DIsmantling and RECycling Techniques for road MATerials. Project leader, Yannick Descantes (IFSTTAR), introduced the project and demonstrated the main deliverable, a web database to be launched by the end of the year which provides on-line access to validated guidelines, national document references, harmonised literature reviews and practical application case studies. The Work Package leaders presented their results on each of the best practices drawn up for the following dismantling and recycling road materials – Unbound, Asphalt, hydraulically bound and other materials.

Following DIRECT-MAT, Bjorn Kalman (VTI) presented the ongoing and related Re-road project to develop knowledge and innovative technologies for enhanced end-of-life strategies for asphalt road infrastructures and Luc Goubert (BRRC) presented the PERSUADE project to develop a durable, cost-effective Poroelastic Road Surface (PERS) using used tyres.

As a parallel session, the DETRA project held its Workshop on International cooperation (Work Package 6). Work Package leader Wolfgang Steinicke from EURNEX presented the findings to date, and he was followed by five international projects and initiatives: Trans-Atlantic transport research by Debra Elston of FHWA; Outcomes of SIMBA and INCO with the BRICs projects by Benoit Verhaeghe of CSIR; Transportation Research Structure in USA by Hans van Saan of DVS; the EAGAR project by Alexander Holleis of AVL and the EUTRAIN project by George Giannopoulos of CERTH/HIT.

Liam Breslin, Head of Unit Surface Transport at the European Commission (EC) Directorate-General (DG) for Research & Innovation, closed the first day of the meeting with his vision for road research.

Implementing road research was the subject of a lively morning plenary and discussion on the second day of the meeting. Moderated by Steve Phillips of FEHRL, the presentations provoked ideas and suggestions on how to best implement road research once a project has been carried out. FEHRL Executive Member Sandra Erkens of DVS presented how FEHRL implements research using its Knowledge Centre (KC) (www.fehrl.org), allowing for national or local differences (eg using national workshops or multi-lingual reports) and involving road operations practitioners as much as possible. This latter point was taken up CEDR member Hans Jeekel who stressed the importance of introducing research at three levels in road agencies: practical, intermediate and governing, preferably during the process itself rather than at the end. Kallistratos Dionelis of ASECAP took a slightly different angle by suggesting that researchers link up more closely with industry and demonstrated this in action in ASECAP. Marcel Rommerts of the EC’s DG MOVE gave the wider context to research projects by outlining the Strategic Transport Technology Plan in the context of the new Transport White Paper.

The afternoon’s parallel sessions showed how road research has been implemented in 17 projects and initiatives under the themes of Resilience, Mobility and Environment (IPG, SILVIA-SILENCE, HEAVYROUTE, INTRO, SWAMP, Climate change initiatives in Australia); Sustainable infrastructure (ARCHES, SPENS, COST 354, NR2C, ELLPAG) and Knowledge transfer supporting implementation (TEAM, TITaM, LTAP, INQUEST, CERTAIN and TRA). Each of the sessions featured lively discussions and an exchange of contact details to deeper share the implementation achievements; just as it should be. Finally to close the meeting in an uplifting way, Steve Phillips updated all participants on the progress of FEHRL’s flagship Forever Open Road programme as moves from design into implementation (see the slides here) and http://www.foreveropenroad.eu). Copies of all the presentations can be found in the KC File Zone. Click on the links below to take a look at the photos and key presentations, documents and videos.

Delegates agreed that FeRRM11 was a resounding success. FEHRL’s organisers will be building on this experience to develop the next FeRRM in 2013, just before the start of the EC’s Horizon 2020 programme. FeRRM13 could include an overview of best practices and best available technology and relations to R&I initiatives in industry.