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Low traffic volume roads : a literature review concerning benefit, standard, condition, operation, and maintenance

  • Edvardsson, Karin
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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In all the Nordic countries unbound or thin sealed road surfaces are common. Low traffic volume roads include all roads with a traffic volume of up to 1,000 vehicles per day. Approximately 75% of the total Swedish government administered road network is low volumed. For the municipal road network, the corresponding figure is 70%. In addition, the whole private road network, which is much larger in length than the government and municipal administered road networks together, is low volumed. Low traffic volume roads have low traffic intensity but it may be noted that it is the same people who often use the roads and therefore incur increased operating costs and reduced comfort. In summary, a large amount of literature in the area treats condition measurements and reinforcement, particularly methods for these. However, there is not much research on the actual road network status, degradation models and life cycle costs published. The structural condition of the road is the most critical parameter for the asset value of the low traffic volume road network. Road capacity affects accessibility for freight transports and is therefore of great importance to the forest industry. Degradation of low traffic volume roads is more complex than on heavily trafficked roads where traffic is the most important parameter. At low traffic volume roads, there is a longer time horizon as well as the fact that several parameters, such as the aging, durability, and climate interact. However, the life length of a road increases significantly when the drainage is improved. Operation and maintenance of low traffic volume roads can generally be divided into the four areas; 1) winter operation, 2) management of the functional condition of the road during the period when the ground is free from frost, 3) management of the road's structural condition, and 4) management during the spring thaw period. In the future, a fifth area may be climate adaption, as mentioned in recent EU statements. New technologies for condition measurements will play a major role in maintenance and improvement of the aging of low traffic volume road network. When it comes to low traffic volume roads, it is very difficult to find economic motives to justify a good condition of these roads. However, these roads must have a minimum acceptable standard, a so called "shame limit", which at least allows people to get to and from home/work safely.

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