The Scottish Road Research Board (SRRB) is a partnership between Transport Scotland and the Society of Chief Officers for Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS) and the Scottish Road Works Commissioner (SRWC).

We annually commission research and development work to deliver improvements in safety, construction, operation and maintenance of the Scottish road network.

Our Objectives

Our objectives are to promote and deliver innovation; share new products, techniques and knowledge across Scotland’s road sector. We aim to:

  • coordinate research activity within the roads community to provide a targeted, prioritised, focussed framework to the development of new processes, procedures, proprietary products and materials across all sectors, properly undertaken and communicated to all
  • establish better formal links with academia
  • identify new appropriate potential sources of research funding
  • establish links with other bodies undertaking road related research, coordinate activity and communicate results and research activity to the wider roads community.

Our Priorities

Our delivery priorities include:

  • improved connections across Scotland and internationally
  • better journey times, better reliability, quality and accessibility
  • low carbon technology & infrastructure, reduced emissions
  • increased safety, more innovation
  • continuously improving performance and organisation

How we Work

The SRRB comprises a Board of senior roads professionals from Transport Scotland, SCOTS and the SRWC with research conducted on our behalf by specialist research contractors and / or consultants. 

We meet on a quarterly basis to co-ordinate and prioritise ongoing research and to consider new bids for funding.

Our research programme is co-ordinated and managed by a Programme Manager who performs a Secretariat role in providing overall coordination and reporting to the SRRB.

Eligibility & Selection

Projects must be roads related and fall within the context of defined research themes, and realise real benefits in terms of safety, operation and functionality of trunk and local roads.

We assess each project proposal, and those aligning with our delivery priorities are incorporated into our research programme.

How We Are Funded

The research programme is jointly funded by Transport Scotland and SCOTS.  Our research budget is around £400,000 per annum.

How We Report

All project reports and other relevant information are disseminated to the roads community in the form of technical reports, advice notes and guidance documents. In most cases, reports are uploaded to this website on a regular basis.

We also recommend projects for presentation at national events such as Road Expo.

For more information on the SRRB research projects, please contact our mailbox at SRRB@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk



Students drive forward improvements in road maintenance

This summer, the Scottish Road Research Board (SRRB) sponsored a competition for second year undergraduate civil engineering students from across Scotland to participate in a Road Maintenance Research Working Group.

The SRRB arranged for the successful winners, Kirstin Bailey and Liam Duffy, of University of Dundee, and Andrew Stevenson, of Abertay University to work with us to explore innovative solutions to solve one of the engineering challenges faced in maintaining our roads.  

The students decided to develop a research proposal on the use of ‘Tyre Derived Rubber Material’ in road drains and  presented their research to the SRRB on 18 August 2015.

Graham Edmond of Transport Scotland’s Major Transport Infrastructure Projects directorate and member of the SRRB said:

“The Scottish Road Research Board were delighted to support this innovative research project.  The re-use of what would otherwise be a waste product fits in well with Transport Scotland’s aims towards more sustainable construction and maintenance. Kirstin, Liam and Andrew gave a very detailed and professional presentation to the Board.  We wish them well with their further research and look forward to hearing the results.”

The SRRB was so impressed with the work that the students were invited to continue their work and will undertake further laboratory testing and hope to report outcomes next spring.
Kirstin, Liam and Andrew plan to report their progress (along with photographs) through their blog site, which can be accessed at: https://roadmaintenance.wordpress.com/.

Project themes

The themes of the SRRB research programme are aligned with the Scottish Government’s purpose and seek to encourage research projects that support the activities of both trunk and local road authorities in terms of:

  • Geotechnical & Drainage Engineering – such as consideration of geotechnical and drainage parameters affecting strength and durability of transport infrastructure assets
  • Design Standards, Specifications & Materials – such as consideration of road construction materials and construction methods and techniques on the strength and durability of carriageways, bridges, retaining walls and other transport infrastructure structural assets
  • Road and Transport Safety & Security – such as consideration of the effectiveness of road safety strategies and initiatives including research that informs the development, technical performance and effectiveness of road safety system, strategies and initiatives
  • Bridges and Structures – such as consideration of materials, proprietary systems, design and construction techniques and technologies in relation to the strength and durability of bridges, culverts, footbridges, underpasses, retaining walls, high mast lights and other transport infrastructure structural assets
  • Maintenance & Operation of Roads and Other Transport Infrastructure Assets – such as consideration of practices, materials, proprietary systems, techniques and technologies that may be used to maintain the serviceability of the transport infrastructure during winter or other adverse weather conditions or events
  • Traffic & Transportation – such as traffic modelling and consideration of the service levels, capacity, economic performance and cost effectiveness, and growth for roads and other transport modes
  • Environment & Sustainability – such as consideration of the environmental and sustainability impact and effectiveness of transport infrastructure related practices and schemes and consideration of practices, materials, proprietary systems, techniques and technologies that may be used to improve the environmental and sustainability performance of the transport network

Eligibility & Selection

To be eligible for funding, projects must be roads related and fall within the context of the research themes outlined above.

Projects should realise real benefits in terms of safety, operation and functionality of trunk and local roads in delivering the Scottish Government’s Purpose.

In addition, projects should:

  • be of priority to the Scottish roads community
  • investigate Scottish circumstances where these are likely to differ from the rest of the UK
  • demonstrate a sound business case.

Projects are assessed by the Programme Board, and those aligning with our delivery priorities are incorporated into the research programme.

On-going contributions and memberships

National Winter Service Research Group (NWSRG)
On-going contribution to the NWSRG research programme

National Asphalt Research Commission (NARC)
Membership of NARC

Current research projects

Fish Barriers on Scottish Major Roads
Study to understand the impacts on fish migration created by structures or major works owned or maintained by public bodies operating road networks.  The study would review the impacts associated with 27 identified structures and develop guidance for future

Completion expected: summer 2017

Road Surface Noise Reduction Techniques
Research study to produce technical guidance (IAN) associated with low noise surface materials as noted in HD 36/06 and based on specification detail in the (unpublished forthcoming) 900 Series of the Specification for Highway Work.

Completion expected: summer 2017

High Speed Friction Testing
Study to carry out high-speed friction testing on a range of road surfacing used on the Scottish trunk road network. A Pavement Friction Tester (PFT) will be used to collect important data on wet skid resistance.  The overall aim of this research is to optimise the durability, sustainability and safety of surface courses used on the Scottish trunk road network.

Completion expected: summer 2017

Roadside Advertising – Driver Behaviour
Follow on from 2015 SRRB research, “Review of Roadside Advertising” to carry out more detailed assessment of the process of driver interaction with various signing characteristics (position, height, text size etc.) in supporting a more detailed understanding of how drivers engage with advertising and how various metrics might affect this.

Completion expected: summer 2017

Route Safety Strategy
Study to identifying the most successful casualty reduction mitigation measures and strategies adopted in various route safety strategies in Scotland, Sweden and Norway to inform future scheme development in Scotland.

Completion expected: summer 2017

Developer Contributions
Research study to review the existing forms of developers contributions being secured for road and related infrastructure and consideration of future models which comply with relevant legislation.

Completion expected: summer 2017

Renewable Energy Generation and Distribution from Road Network Assets
First phase of research is to develop a process for assessing the implementation of renewable proposals (energy generating devices) for use in Road Authority context in Scotland from inception to completion – taking full account of existing processes within Authorities in Scotland (including Scottish Government), UK as a whole and elsewhere in Europe.

Completion expected: summer 2017

Road Surface Water Flooding
A scoping study to assess the potential for developing a surface water flooding prediction tool for use by road authorities to inform future improved flood prediction and hazard modelling.

Completion expected: summer 2017

Winter Maintenance (Phase 3) – Liquid Treatments
Study to carry out further trials to investigate the use of brine-only for snow treatments (previous research has focused solely on ice prevention) and various ‘blended’ liquids that are effective at preventing ice on carriageways. 

Completion expected: summer 2017

The Value of the Trunk Road Network to Society and Economy in Scotland
Research to estimate the contribution of the motorway and trunk road network to the society and economy, and how to quantify the benefits of investment in maintaining the network.  The research will demonstrate how this investment contributes towards the Scottish Government purpose of providing opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. The outcomes from the project will inform the case for continuing investment in the motorway and trunk road network in the upcoming Spending Review

Completion expected: summer 2018

Road Marking Durability & Adhesion to TS2010
Second phase of earlier study to investigate issues experienced by the road marking industry in applying signing and lining markings to TS2010 surfacing.  The study will involve a literature review followed by network trials and development of a draft code of practice.

Completion expected: summer 2016

Road Maintenance and National Outcomes
A two part study to identify the potential relationship between good road maintenance, economic benefit and links to national outcomes.

Completion expected: autumn 2016

Cost Benchmarking
Study to address one of the recommendations of the NRMR to develop and apply a consistent unit cost benchmarking methodology across all roads authorities.

Completion expected: autumn 2016

Locating Underground Drainage Apparatus
Study to investigate applications of recent advances in drainage detection and how these can help reduce the need for extensive excavations.  The study will involve a literature review bringing together best practice from around the world before conducting trials in different environments.

Completion expected: summer 2016

Skid Resistance of Locally Sourced Aggregate
Study to establish a methodology to determine the in-service properties (skid-resistance) of locally sourced aggregate, thereby allowing the road maintenance community access to additional sources of materials from local Scottish quarries.

Completion expected: autumn 2016

SCANNER Research
Collaborative research with UK Department for Transport and Consortium for Highway Condition Surveys (CHiCS) and led by Surrey County Council into three areas: Optimising the Consistency of SCANNER data; Review the appropriateness of SCANNER RCI Reporting and Review of SCANNER Condition Parameters. 

Completion expected: summer 2017

TD22/06 VRS on Tight Looped Roads
Desktop review of existing studies and literature relating to the safety impact of physical barrier provision on two-way loop connector roads, and the evidence behind advice given in Clause 5.27 of TD22/06.

Completion expected: summer 2016

EME2 with Softer PEN Bitumen (Phase 2)
Second phase of initial research into the potential use of softer pen EME2 materials on the Scottish road network. The study will take the outcomes of the initial laboratory testing work in order to develop design curves for pavement design.

Completion expected: summer 2016

Skid resistance - performance study
Study to consider how new surfacing materials are performing in service on the network, with outputs used to compare with Polished Stone Value (PSV) and inform improvements in skidding performance and value for money in terms of imported aggregate.

Completion expected: summer 2016

Road maintenance timing - phase 2
Second phase of earlier study to investigate conflicts when programming works on the road network. The Phase 2 study will investigate development of a toolkit to assess alternative traffic management options.

Completion expected: summer 2016

QRA for landslides
Two year study to develop the methodology for undertaking QRA for Scottish debris flow events that affect the trunk road network and for quantitatively determining the risk at selected case study sites.

Completion expected: summer 2016

Landslide monitoring and modelling
Three year study to undertake monitoring at, and modelling of, the A83 Rest and be Thankful, A85 Glen Ogle and the A82 Glencoe sites. The monitoring data will allow an improved understanding of the site-specific hazards and risks and feed into the on-going QRA work.

Completion expected: summer 2017

LEAN construction in road modelling
Study to embed LEAN construction philosophy within the public road maintenance industry, through three separate but linked improvement projects involving staff from Aberdeenshire Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Transport Scotland.

Completion expected: summer 2016

Long term damage to roads (joints)
Study to investigate the effectiveness of different types of joints on limiting the impact of long term damage to roads. Good construction of edge joints is critical if the long term serviceable life of a reinstatement is to be optimised.

Completion expected: autumn 2016

Tar bound arisings (Phase 2)
Second and more detailed phase of research study to produce updated national guidance for all roads authorities and statutory undertakers on to deal safely and cost effectively with tar bound arisings.

Completion expected: autumn 2016

Climate change adaptation
Study to enable the delivery of three specific reports on climate change impacts on roads, fog projects affecting roads and biodiversity growing season impacts on road networks. This research will support the objectives of the forthcoming Climate Change Adaptation Programme for Scotland.

Completion expected: summer 2016


Completed research projects

Long term damage to roads (compaction)

Study in consultation with the utility industry, to investigate and evaluate techniques and methods that could be used to both assess and improve the compaction of the lower layers, and improve the performance of utility reinstatements.
Read 'A state of the art review on compaction of reinstatements'

Effectiveness of automatic trash screen
Funding towards university led research to conduct an evaluative trial to assess the performance of up to four automated trash screens installed by Inverclyde Council with a view to drafting guidance on operation and performance in Scotland.
Read the 'Inverclyde Council - Cartsburn Automated Trash Screen Report'

Pothole repair system and techniques (Phase 2)
Second phase of research, and two year study, to ascertain which pothole repair products and techniques are suitable for use as interim and/or permanent repairs. The study sets out the principal options for repairing potholes and describes a process for selecting the most appropriate solution for any given situation.
Read 'Best practice guide for the selection of pothole repair options'

Tar bound arisings (Phase 1)
Desktop study to produce updated national guidance for all roads authorities and statutory undertakers on to deal safely and cost effectively with tar bound arisings.
Read the phase 1 report on tar bound arisings

Brine only trials
Allocation of funding towards collaborative trials of Brine-only spreading as a form of winter treatment, along with a wide scale trial of imbiber products.
Read the brine-only spreading report

The future of timber transport
A two-year study in collaboration with Scotland’s Timber Transport Groups to identify, develop and test a consistent methodology for the collection and collation of a national database of exit points where timber tonnages would join the public road network.
Read the timber transport report

Road drainage and flood risk management
Study to investigate the conflict between road drainage design and flood risk management. The study will cover both new build and retrofitted schemes.
Read the road drainage and flood risk management report

Review of road side advertising
Literature review into road safety implications, amenity and revenue potential of road side advertising, followed by consideration of national guidance and policy documentation for both the Trunk Road Authority and Councils.
Read the review of road side advertising report

Recycled tyres in noise barriers
Study to determine the potential for reductions in noise from major roads (trunk and local) through the use of a noise barrier system manufactured or constructed using tyre derived rubber materials (TDRM).
Report: Application of Tyre Derived Rubber Material in the design and construction of environmental noise barriers Phase 1
Report: Application of Tyre Derived Rubber Material in the design and construction of environmental noise barriers Phases 2 to 4: Technical issues and preliminary performance testing
Report: Evaluating the fire properties of Tyre Derived Rubber Material in civil engineering applications

Durability of thermoplastic road markings
Desktop literature review to develop investigate why white lining and road markings are failing to achieve design life.  A future phase of the study could include site trials and analysis.
Report: Durability of thermoplastic road markings

EME2 with Softer PEN bitumen
First phase of initial research involving laboratory testing of EME2 (Enrobé à Module Élevé) Bituminous Binder Course to assess strain compatibility, rutting and fatigue through measurement of micro cracking between the bitumen and the aggregate at low temperatures.
Report: Phase 1

Investigating glowing roads
Study to deliver a wide-based information-gathering report detailing the viability of the various strands of photo-luminescent technology and its potential application on the Scottish road network.
Final report

Tourist sign research
Study to investigate range of issues surrounding tourist signposting (including the cost of providing signs) and compare Scotland’s approach with that undertaken elsewhere in the UK and internationally, particularly in the Republic of Ireland and perhaps Scandinavia.
Final report

Fabric reinforcement to surface dressing
Attendance at application of Surface Dressing trial to assess laying process and applicability of the proposed control environment, followed by literature review investigating use of products / techniques from elsewhere.
Final report

Hydraulically bound materials
Literature review to gather information on the application of hydraulically bound materials (HBM) in flexible pavements and trench reinstatements and give advice on their use in Scotland.
Final report