RoadResource.org Now Live!
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Posted by: Kristi Olson
In a culmination of more than two years of effort by AEMA, ARRA, and ISSA leaders and members, with guidance and development by Vario Consulting and the assistance of CM Services, the RoadResource.org website went live on July 16.
The site features powerful decision-making and comparison tools, never-before seen in the industry and founded on significant research, including input from industry leaders, interviews and beta-testing with agency users, a North American cost survey, and in-depth technical review.
Most of our readers will already be familiar from previous articles of the background and path followed to develop this site, but we’d like to highlight some of the features, functionality, and content of this fantastic new tool.
One of the key areas of the website, the Treatment Toolbox includes powerful educational tools and information, available at the push of a button, whether at the job site, at their desks, or in meetings with decision-makers.
When we began the research project, one inquiry resurfaced among nearly all agency interviews, “I just want to know which treatments to use on my roads,” said one research participant. “If I could hop in the car with an expert and drive the roads in my network, I would have all the answers I need.”
PPRA leadership has adapted a suggestive learning tool to answer this question. “What treatment is best for my road” uses two methods to explore possible treatment solutions for a given road. The application takes into account pavement criteria, including primary distress, road type, and surface type. Users can also scroll through a gallery of curated photos to see example roads with various levels and types of distress. For each possible solution, users are directed to learn more about the given approach using one of the most robust sections of the website, the Treatment Resource Center.
One of the most robust and useful sections of the site, the Treatment Resource Center (TRC) contains a menu of 23 tabs for each of the 18 treatments on RoadResource.org. The menu will serve as a go-to resource for users in the field. It incorporates information ranging from benefits, photos, success stories, research summaries, savings and general attributes, to specialized technical questions, sample specs, and trouble-shooting recommendations.
In key places throughout each treatment menu, industry experts have added “Rules of Thumb” which serve as best practices to encourage and improve the use and success of each treatment.
A primary goal of this site is to remedy the ongoing problem of stop-gap solutions and reactive pavement management. PPRA aims to replace old approaches by educating users around the importance of smart network management. In demonstrating comprehensive, long-lasting and cost-effective solutions, the website gives users the skills to provide the best overall network condition possible for the limited budgets available.
“Above all, we recommend agencies use a pavement management system (PMS),” said Dan Patenaude, whose insight informed much of the network section. “For agencies that don’t yet have a PMS, we can fill in a few gaps and help get them going on the right track.”
The Network Optimization section aims to teach some basic network-level concepts and formulas, and demonstrate applications in user-friendly calculators to show users the effect of optimized management strategies on their own networks.
The Network Calculators are designed to teach agencies foundational concepts and alternative methods to approach treatment plans.
Each calculator works with a piece of the “network puzzle.” The Life Cycle Cost Calculator first teaches users that, when properly maintained, an asphalt road will last more than 40 years at a fraction of the cost of a conventional mill & fill approach. Association members can use this tool to educate customers and contacts around the importance of a regular maintenance plan.
To encourage customers to move away from the conventional, the Equivalent Annualized Cost calculator compares treatments using “apples to apples” figures by evaluating the unit cost per year of life extension--this comparison shows that you may not be getting the value you expect from traditional asphalt approached.
Further along the line of “good, better, best” network management concepts, the Remaining Service Life Calculator demonstrates the value in managing an entire network as a whole. It is built on the concept that your network is either losing life or gaining life every year. By using more progressive treatment plans, agencies can inject more life into a network in a given year--for the same expense.
And finally, bringing in “real-world” considerations, Cost-Benefit Value (CBV) allows users to evaluate projects in reference to one another. With limited budgets, the CBV formula helps road managers prioritize which projects will give the “biggest bang for the buck,” taking into account factors such as average annual daily traffic, project cost, and total budget. Association members might use this tool to demonstrate the importance of addressing a particular project on a high-traffic road, over a simpler fix to a low-traffic road.
With the extensive information and tools included, this site provides a comprehensive resource for agencies and a powerful tool for PPRA member organizations to use to assist in educating and communicating with agencies and owners.
AEMA, ARRA, and ISSA members should be on the lookout next week for an email providing additional information on how to best use and promote this fantastic new resource. In the meantime, visit and explore RoadResource.org.