France's road assets: what investments in 2022?
From the State to local authorities, road infrastructure managers are faced with the need to invest rapidly in their assets, whose quality has deteriorated in recent years. Solutions exist to limit curative measures and give priority to preventive measures.
In 2012, France was ranked first in the World Economic Forum's survey of road infrastructure quality in 141 countries. In 2019, it dropped to 18th position. Among the possible explanations for this sudden and brutal decline, the Cour des Comptes suggests the effects of decentralization and the "increasing fragmentation of road competence in France "*. France has nearly 1.1 million km of roads - making it one of the longest and densest networks in Europe - most of which are now managed by local authorities (departments and municipalities).
893.4 million in payment credits (CP) that must be devoted to the maintenance and regeneration of the national road network not under concession for the year 2022, i.e., a very slight decrease of 0.9% in terms of AE and, on the other hand, an increase of 1.9% in CP. Investment is also considered "an absolute necessity, as it appears essential to modernize our road network. The condition of the pavement structure has been deteriorating since 2009 and more than half of them are in need of urgent maintenance. But this envelope only concerns the national road network not under concession, which covers... about 12,000 kilometers of roads and 12,000 bridges, i.e. 1% of French roads and 5% of bridges**. What about the 380,000 km under the control of the departments and the 700,000 km* managed by the municipalities? The Court of Accounts noted that "in the departments, maintenance and operation still too often remain adjustment variables, depending on the financial situation, but also on other investment priorities "* As proof, only 40% of the departments had carried out an evaluation campaign of all their roadways. And if "a slight majority had resorted to automated methods on the most structuring roads (...) some still relied on observations made by agents during patrols.
In this context, and where the car is very often the essential means of travel – peri-Urban and rural infrastructure managers must therefore implement investment policies for the development and maintenance of the road network in order to allow users to travel in the best conditions of safety and fluidity. Thanks to the data collected and shared by road users, at the heart of the system, ANAIS makes it possible to identify areas at risk from the point of view of road safety, analyze them and propose recommendations for development to be carried out in the territory through site visits prepared and targeted by the agents. ANAIS is used continuously to monitor the evolution of road use and safety, and thus strive for continuous improvement of the heritage network.
Mobility by Colas' ANAIS offer thus meets this objective of promoting and encouraging the establishment of a quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure: «targeted alerts for a controlled road network».
*L'Entretien des routes nationales et départementales, Court of Auditors, March 2022.
**2022 Finance Bill: Sustainable Ecology, Development and Mobility - General Report No. 163 (2021-2022) by MM. Hervé MAUREY and Stéphane SAUTAREL, done on behalf of the Finance Committee, tabled on November 18, 2021.