Overview

The Scottish Road Research Board (SRRB) is a partnership between Transport Scotland, the Society of Chief Officers of 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@transport.gov.scot

 

 

News

SRRB announces 2021-22 research programme

The Scottish Road Research Board is pleased to announce its 2021-22 research programme. The list of new projects includes:

  • Automatic Compaction Control Specification
  • Accessibility of Zebra Crossings (Phase 2)
  • Continuous Footways & Floating Bus Stops
  • Suitability of Kerb Profiles (Phase 2)
  • Value of Local Road Network (Phase 3)
  • Value of Local Road Network (Roll Out of Phase 2)
  • Vulnerability of Scottish Road Network to Flooding
  • Boulder Hazards (Phase 2)
  • Ongoing Maintenance of Burnshot Bridge

Please see the research programme for further details.

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.

Environment and sustainability

Such as:

  • consideration of the environmental and sustainability impact and effectiveness of transport infrastructure related practices and schemes
  • consideration of practices, materials, proprietary systems, techniques and technologies that may be used to improve the environmental and sustainability performance of the transport network

Additionally, transport related carbon reduction and net zero research topics are considered relevant to this research theme.

Climate change impacts and climate change adaptation

Such as the consideration of practices, materials, proprietary systems, techniques and technologies which can be adapted to build a safer, reliable and more resilient transport network. 

The circular economy 

Such as the consideration of practices, materials, proprietary systems, techniques and technologies to encourage optimal utilisation of Scottish resources and retain valuable material in the transport network.

Lean design, designing out waste and valued engineering solutions are included in this research area of interest.

Maintenance and 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.

This also includes research to further explore maintenance and operations while anticipating an increase in extreme weather events.

Additionally, how resource exchange mechanisms can be used to ensure resources and energy efficiency throughout the network to extend the life of the transport network’s materials and structures. 

Geotechnical and drainage engineering

Such as consideration of geotechnical and drainage parameters affecting strength and durability of transport infrastructure assets.

Design standards, specifications and materials

Such as consideration of road construction materials, construction methods and techniques on the strength and durability of carriageways, bridges, retaining walls and other transport infrastructure structural assets.

Road and transport safety and security

Such as consideration of the effectiveness of road safety strategies and initiatives. This includes research that informs the development, technical performance and effectiveness of road safety systems, strategies and initiatives.

Bridges and structures

Such as consideration of materials, proprietary systems, design and construction techniques monitoring performance or other technologies in relation to the strength, maintenance, operation and durability of bridges, culverts, footbridges, underpasses, retaining walls, high mast lights and other transport infrastructure structural assets.

Traffic and 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.

Health and equalities

Such as consideration of technology, material, innovation and services that:

  • improve health (e.g. air quality)
  • encourage equalities (including demographic, geographic, socioeconomic and protected characteristics)
  • reduce inequality in relation to the transport network

Road works

Such as consideration of materials, construction methods, techniques and innovation around the performance and impacts of road works reinstatements and ancillary activities. 

The key aim shall be to provide research which can inform road works policy development and lead to minimising impacts of road works on the environment, road users and the wider community.

Eligibility and 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
http://www.nwsrg.org

National Asphalt Research Consortium (NARC)
Ongoing contribution to the National Asphalt Research Consortium (NARC).
National Asphalt Research Consortium (NARC) - The University of Nottingham

Current research projects

Compaction Control Specification

Study to develop a specification for monitoring and control of onsite compaction using real time automatically collected electronic data. This will replace existing destructive sample testing methods with more efficient and safer processes that deliver a more consistent and compliant compaction level and thus longer lasting roads.

Zebra Crossings (Phase 2)

Second phase of study to consider the benefits of zebra crossings to some vulnerable road user groups, and the potential for improvements to address any short comings particularly in regard to accessibility for blind and partially sighted pedestrians.

Continuous Footways and Floating Bus Stops

The Continuous Footways study aims to identify tactile indicators that could be included in standard details to enable blind and partially sighted people to identify the crossing and be guided across it. The research will explore user behaviour at ‘live’ sites to explore influence of a variety of factors on how well continuous footways operate.

The Floating Bus Stops study aims to explore user behaviour at a number of a 'live' sites of bus stop bypasses. The objective will be to explore influence of a variety of factors on how well these bus stops operate, in terms of user volumes, conditions, and user perception.

Suitability of Kerb Profiles (Phase 2)

Second stage of study to find evidence based conclusions to appropriate kerb heights and profiles, along with any associated design elements.

Value of Local Road Network (Phase 3)

Third and final stage of study to determine optimum roll-out phasing of the Minimum Variable Product (MVP) model across Scotland's local authorities, along with an exploration of deeper definitions of generic value judgements within different settings, and further in-depth consideration of the detailed value impact of proximity to the trunk roads network.

Vulnerability of Scottish Road Network to Flooding

Study to develop a framework for defining the vulnerability of roads to adverse weather-related flood events. The framework could be applied to evaluate the vulnerability of the Scottish road infrastructure and to assess its risk and resilience to critical events, allowing the identification of the most vulnerable components and support risk mitigation strategies and management actions.

Boulder Hazard Assessment (Phase 2)

Second phase of study to expand the boulder hazard inventory to consider boulders across the wider Study Area at the Rest and be Thankful site, using UAV survey undertaken for the Operating Company BEAR to capture photogrammetry data across the wider study area allowing the identification of boulder locations, colour coded to indicate their individual low/medium/high hazard rating.

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: Spring 2022

Video Based Road Defect Surveys

Trial aiming to assess if the outputs of video surveys could improve quality and reduce costs of road surveys of Scottish road network.  The project will report on the accuracy of the video survey in identifying defects and possible maintenance schemes, the costs associated with video surveys compared to traditional methods and a qualitative assessment of the safety and deliverability of each approach.

Completion expected: Spring 2022

Pavement Design Using EME2

Continuation of SRRB research aiming to look at the performance of EME2 as achieved in Scotland, in comparison with traditional materials, examining how HD26 road designs should be adjusted to accommodate the findings of previous research.  The study will consider formulating a new series of design charts that consider both fatigue and stiffness.

Completion expected: Winter 2021

Queensferry Crossing Wind Study

Study to review the current wind thresholds for operating the new Queensferry Crossing, particularly the threshold regarding the closure of the bridge to double decker buses, which is currently 60mph winds. Overall the key objectives are to ensure safety and to minimise disruption to bridge users.

Completion expected: Winter 2021

Structural Health Monitoring of Burnshot Bridge

Study around the construction of the new Burnshot Bridge to allow monitoring of the behaviour of support columns in relation to the surrounding reinforced soil, to monitor the displacement and stress/strain behaviour of the pre-stressed beams, and to monitor the true benefits of stainless steel rebar in bridges.

Completion expected: Summer 2022

Vulnerable User Perception of Speed

Study to investigate the difference between vulnerable road users’ perception of vehicle speeds and actual speeds, and how this contributes to the level of public anxiety/difficulty when crossing roads.

Completion expected: Summer 2022

Landslide Forecast, Detection and Notification

Study to deliver a “proof-of-concept-level” landslide forecast, detection and notification system capable of implementation at A83 Rest and Be Thankful and with the potential for application to other locations susceptible to landslide hazards.

Completion expected: Summer 2022

Early Pavement Failures

Study to identify why sub-surface layers have caused early failure when the material initially appeared sound. Then to develop a protocol for evaluating whether in-situ binder/base materials might be susceptible to a similar failure mechanism. The final part of be work would be to introduce this protocol into the standard site investigation that is carried out prior to maintenance works being designed.

Completion expected: Winter 2021

Kerb Heights

Study to review kerb heights being used across the Scottish road networks and consider recommendations to trunk road operators, local authorities, planners and architects on more appropriate kerb to be used that provide maximum accessibility for all user groups.

Completion expected: Winter 2021

Zebra Crossings

Study to find possible solutions that would increase safety for the most vulnerable user utilising Zebra Crossings, and use the findings to influence the guidance in the Roads For All Good Practice Guide, due for publication in Summer 2020.

Completion expected: Winter 2021

Adaptive Flood Level Markers

Study to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) for the road bridges managed by Transport Scotland based on the “adaptive” Flood Level Marker. The system will calculate water level thresholds for structures over water for different scour scenarios and, according to new information on scour depth collected by a monitoring system, inform the inspector about which water level threshold triggers a prioritised inspection.

Completion expected: Summer 2022

Completed research projects

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

Student Research Competition - 2022

Can you identify and deliver research for Scotland’s roads authorities to aid our journey towards net zero by 2045?

As a result of the global climate emergency, Scotland is seeking to address its greenhouse gas emissions by setting ambitious targets to limit the nations contribution to future climate change. Technical innovation will be essential on this journey to net zero.

The Scottish Road Research Board (SRRB) are inviting research proposals that can assist the Scottish road network in its transition towards net zero. Proposals must be roads related and should fall within the context of the project themes defined on the SRRB website. The projects should demonstrate tangible benefits in terms of either safety, operation, or functionality on either trunk or local roads.

Submissions are now being accepted, closing 31 December 2022. Successful candidates will be notified by 31 January 2023.

To apply, you should use the application form below, making sure to explain your methodology, objectives, timescale, risks, deliverables and funds required. Please keep your response to no longer than 2 sides of A4.


 

FAQs

Who can apply?

This competition is open to undergraduate students, postgraduate students, or groups of students, from across Scotland.

How much is available?

The SRRB have a total of £10,000 available to help fund research projects.

What happens next?

Following the deadline a dedicated panel appointed by the SRRB will meet to assess applications. There will be a particular focus on needs and priority in relation to net zero. The panel findings will be announced by 31 January 31 2023.

Further opportunities

Where possible we will connect you with Roads professionals to provide guidance during the research period. All successful applicants will be expected to present their completed research to the SRRB, and have their work published on the Transport Scotland website.

Contact SRRB@transport.gov.scot for more information.