Optimizing Roadway Networks: Bridging the Gap for Informed Decisions
As a pavement management analyst, my recent experience has highlighted the challenges of conveying complex information to decision-makers who may lack technical expertise.
Importance of Knowledge Translation:
Technical professionals face the task of bridging the gap between their expertise and decision-making. Sharing insights with city councils often requires finding effective ways to communicate complex concepts.
Optimizing Roadway Networks: A Case Study:
During a recent presentation, I discussed the importance of allocating 30% of the budget (equivalent to $150,000) towards a preventive preservation plan for the city's roadways. This approach prioritizes addressing the worst-performing roads, aiming to improve road conditions over a 20-year cycle.
Consequences of Inaction:
Without implementing this strategy, the analysis indicates a potential decline in the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) over the next five years. Emphasizing the need to act becomes crucial to avoid further deterioration, higher repair costs, and inconvenience for the community.
Some council members expressed concerns about neglecting poor roadways. However, it was reassured that 70% of the budget would be dedicated to addressing those roads specifically, ensuring their improvement.
Understanding Roadway Conditions:
To alleviate concerns, it is important to explain that roadways with a PCI between zero and 30 are already significantly deteriorated. These roads have experienced extensive load and climate-related distress. The strategy focuses on preserving roads with potential for improvement.
The "Aha Moment":
By emphasizing distress-driven analysis and the exhaustion of load-related distress, it became clear that allowing severely deteriorated roads to remain for a few more years while properly maintaining them is a prudent approach.
Effective Communication Strategies:
This experience underscores the importance of connecting the dots for decision-makers who lack technical expertise. Utilizing road insights platforms and presenting tangible examples, such as high-definition videos, can foster a shared understanding of proposed strategies.
Successfully implementing infrastructure strategies relies on effective knowledge translation. Recognizing that decision-makers may not possess the same expertise, we must employ engaging communication methods and provide tangible examples to bridge the gap.
Together, we can optimize roadway networks and create sustainable infrastructure for our communities.
Author: James Golden, Founder and CEO of Pavement Management Group