The title of the AAPA 18th International Flexible Pavements Conference and Exhibition; Our Everlasting Roads – Enabling Future Mobility refers to the changing demands that society and transportation technology place on the long term investment that is road infrastructure. It also refers to our increasing technical ability to build perpetual pavements, roads that will last for an indefinite amount of time, while only requiring regular surface maintenance. The following themes will be discussed:
Society is increasingly shifting from a linear economy (take, use, dispose) to a circular economy (make, use, reuse, remake, recycle). Asphalt is 100% reusable and our industry is well advanced to achieving the goal of a truly circular economy. This theme is about the ongoing effort to closing the loop of the circular economy further advancing our everlasting roads.
Preservation and Rehabilitation
Once built, most roads will stay in place forever providing an everlasting path for mobility. The road network in Australia is increasingly maturing and focus has been shifting from building new roads to maintaining existing infrastructure. At the same time, parts of the road network are subject to a significant backlog in maintenance funding, which is a challenge faced by many jurisdictions around the world. There is a need to better communicate the cost effectiveness of early intervention to avoid costly repairs later. This theme focuses on preserving the functionality of existing pavements and the rehabilitation of pavements that require repair or strengthening.
Roads as a Service
The introduction of electric and autonomous vehicles will change demands placed on road infrastructure. Vehicle to infrastructure communication will put new requirements on road marking, surfacing reliability and change work site safety controls. Autonomous vehicles are likely to change loading patterns and traffic density used in pavement design. Vehicle ownership patterns may also change. The income from fuel levies and vehicle registration may decrease. Parts of the road network already face a significant backlog in maintenance. At the same time, society’s mobility expectations in terms of comfort, ride quality, safety and travel times are increasing. This theme is about the service expected from our flexible pavements, now and in the future. Early engagement with the public.
The flexible pavements industry is committed to continually improving safety, sustainability, quality and consistency in all aspects of service delivery. This continual improvement can be delivered in multiple ways including the creation and adoption of new technology, improved engineering and construction practice, changed behavior and adopting frameworks that promote innovation (removing barriers). This theme captures, recognizes and expands the role that Continual Improvement plays in enabling and improving future mobility.