Road management: prevention is better than cure
Accounting for 87%* of the exchanges of goods and people, the French road network can legitimately be considered as the country's leading social network. This precious heritage is in huge demand and must be kept in impeccable condition: it is therefore advisable to anticipate its maintenance needs as accurately as possible, especially in suburban areas.
In 2012**, the quality of the French road network put France in first place (ahead of 140 other countries) in the ranking drawn up by the Transport Infrastructure Division for the World Economic Forum. In 2019**, this same network of national and departmental roads – i.e. about 35%* of the network in mainland France – ranked it in 18th place. The reason for this is the reduction in investment by public road managing bodies.
Maintaining road infrastructures in perfect condition and monitoring them is a major safety issue for users; moreover, it should be perceived more as a sustainable investment than an operating expense incurred by public managing bodies: taking action in response to the first warning avoids the need for later, more costly and extensive works.
The solutions available on the market provide an inventory of road infrastructures and their optimisation according to absolute or relative quality criteria in relation to the traffic on the various routes. However, they do not provide motorists with an accurate report on the perception of the facilities present: are drivers likely to be surprised by a bend? Do they have good enough visibility to anticipate an intersection, etc.?
At the same time, local authorities, whose competence is to manage roads, wish to have the most reliable view of their roads in order to invest efficiently and in line with the use of these infrastructures by road users, and to objectify their investments with a before/after analysis of the development works carried out.
The contribution of digital technology can facilitate this road management and the transition from a remedial to a preventive mode. Combining digital and physical solutions, with this new approach local authorities can focus their attention and the analysis efforts of the road managing body on areas that represent a potential hazard to users.
This is what ANAIS does. It is a decision making support tool for road managing bodies that improves safety by acting simultaneously on local and regional planning. It acts both upstream, with a preliminary study of hazard zones, which can be done without physical movement (using maps and 360° views, detailed driving behaviour statistics, braking, drift and speed distribution curves), supplemented by field visits to the targeted areas and automated recommendations for development. Downstream, ANAIS also provides continuous assessment, giving a before/after comparison of works on the areas dealt with in order to provide an objective picture of the investments made.
Through this combination of forecasting, high precision conferred by the digital platform and interactivity, infrastructures will be more resilient and will regain their road comfort and safety.
*Source: Espace Public & Mobilité, L’état de la route 2021 (Public Space & Mobility, The state of the road 2021) (Routes de France)