The IM-SAFE report “Recommendations to remove the PEST barriers and prioritisation of risk management areas taking the lessons from recent infrastructure failures” has now been published.
This report addresses the main barriers against well-functioning monitoring and maintenance of transport infrastructure with focus on road and railway bridges and tunnels. Political, Economic, Social and Technological barriers were included in the PEST-analyses.
Several barriers were found and several of them are linked together with the result that in general not enough resources are allocated to monitoring and maintenance of the infrastructure. Transport users do not think about the infrastructure before some failure or closing interrupts their mobility.
The large number of objects makes it challenging to keep track of the maintenance need and remaining lifetime. Some asset management system exists but is not taken into use elsewhere.
A significant part of the infrastructure is getting older, and some are even older than the initial design life. This means that the need for inspection, performance prediction, risk analysis and the actual maintenance work is increasing.
On the other side increasing opportunities for efficient inspection methods and more advanced asset management system makes it possible to get a better overview of the situation and to be able to prioritize better between objects for maintenance.
Some of the barriers are not so easy to overcome e.g., there will always be budget limitations, but one of the most important action that should be taken is to prepare European standards for inspection and maintenance to give the engineer in charge a tool to improve decisions.
The last part of the report is to study recent failures that are caused by lack of monitoring or maintenance or where this is a contributing factor to see if we can learn from these failures. Luckily there are not that many real failures and the only lesson that could be extracted is that maintenance strategies of an object should be emphasized in the design/building phase and that it is important to transfer knowledge and documentation to the operation organization.
The full report is available here on the IM-SAFE website.