6 Programmed Maintenance
Programmed Maintenance is moderate to major work which aims to improve the condition and functionality of the asset, and is planned one or more years in advance. There are normally long time intervals between programmed maintenance activities on a given asset (e.g. carriageway resurfacing and replacement of bridge components).
6.1 Scheme Identification & Prioritisation Process
Currently our programmed maintenance work plans are developed largely based on asset condition data including results from inspections and condition surveys including Deflectograph, SCANNER, SCRIM, Detailed Inspections and Principal Inspections to structures. Each asset type has defined thresholds or triggers that when reached indicates that structural maintenance or strengthening may be required. The actual need for maintenance is assessed through further site inspections and appropriate testing which are used to validate initial findings and refine appropriate treatment options. The outcome of this is a one-year implementation programme and a further two-year planning programme which is updated and prioritised annually.
Whole Life Costing
To assist in determining the most appropriate treatment option for an identified maintenance scheme we have developed a Whole Life Costing model. This model is used to assess the economic efficiency of various potential treatment options for an individual scheme to assist us in determining the most advantageous treatment option that delivers the best value for money over the lifecycle of the asset. The use of the Whole Life Cost model provides us with the mechanism to ensure that the most appropriate maintenance is delivered at the right time whilst reducing the whole life costs of maintenance.
It is not unusual that programmed maintenance budgets are unable to address all of the maintenance that we would ideally like to undertake. This means different maintenance needs are competing for the same money. It is important to ensure that the available budget is spent on the most deserving sites with demonstrable maintenance needs in a manner that is consistent with Transport Scotland’s maintenance policies and objectives.
We have developed and implemented a formal value management process for roads structural maintenance schemes for assessing the benefits of undertaking maintenance and the associated risks of not undertaking maintenance. Additionally, we have developed a value management process for trunk road structures which aligns with best practice within the UK, ensuring that our investment is both effective and efficient. Each scheme in the one-year maintenance programme is scored against a range of criteria:
- Safety – to maintain a safe network and assess the level of risk to the road user. Those schemes that are safety critical or have a high level of risk will have the highest priority scoring.
- Journey Time Reliability/Functionality – to assess the level of risk to the service, e.g. route availability.
- Environment/Sustainability – to assess the impact of a scheme on the environment, noise reduction, recycling and sustainability.
- Value for Money – to consider the economic efficiency of the scheme and seek to minimise the whole life costs (i.e. invest now to deliver savings later).
The scores are being used to determine which schemes should remain in the current year and which can be deferred until the following year. This ensures that those parts of the network with the greatest need are addressed and that the available funds are allocated in a fair, objective and transparent manner.
6.2 Minor Schemes
Transport Scotland’s Major Transport Infrastructure Projects Division is responsible for delivering improvements to the trunk road network, e.g. new roads and road widening. Where considered appropriate, minor improvement schemes are funded and managed by the Trunk Roads and Bus Operations Division, the most recent of which is the A83 Improvement Programme.
Following a number of landslides on the A83, Transport Scotland commissioned a study which developed a programme of progression for improvement works, targeting a number of issues along the route. The objectives of the A83 Route Study and programme were to:
- Reduce accident rates and severity on the A83.
- Improve pedestrian and cycling amenities in the settlements along the A83.
- Improve journey time reliability by reducing the frequency and impact of road closures.
- Reduce the economic impact on the A83 study area by reducing the frequency and duration of road closures caused by landslides.
Transport Scotland is progressing a number of the improvements identified over the period of this RAMP. Further information can be found at: www.transportscotland.gov.uk/project/a83-improvements
6.3 Network Operations
Road users expect reliable journey times, preferably on roads that are congestion free. Increased journey times, exacerbated by unexpected congestion, are frustrating, even more so when it is the result of road works. At the same time, no one wants their roads to be in poor condition, and in some cases, maintenance operations may lead to unavoidable delays at road works. To minimise disruption, we programme work to take place during quieter periods whenever possible.
Due to the strategic importance of Scotland’s trunk road network, our Operating Companies are required to minimise the potential disruption and inconvenience to road users caused by essential maintenance by planning works, combining activities and coordinating with all stakeholders, including statutory undertakers (e.g. utilities and telecoms companies). We also continue to demonstrate a strong ethos in the communication of timely and consistent information on upcoming road works.
Transport Scotland is responsible for managing the Traffic Scotland service which enables the collection and distribution of real-time traffic information relating to incidents and events taking place on the Scottish trunk road network. The Traffic Scotland website (trafficscotland.org/roadworks) provides up-to-date information on current and planned road works, and advance warnings are also displayed to road users on variable message signs. We also work closely with the Scottish Road Works Commissioner, established to oversee the planning and coordination of works on Scotland’s roads by all roads authorities and statutory undertakers.