Applus+ explores new strategies for road infrastructure  


    Roads in Spain face a future that demands maintenance based on sustainability criteria to address asset deterioration and an unprecedented technological deployment to adapt to new forms of mobility. Therefore, Applus+, in collaboration with El Confidencial, has organised a roundtable with major sector stakeholders titled "Roads to the Future: Safety, Quality, and Challenges in Transport Infrastructure." (spanish only)

    Pedro Aliseda Pérez de Madrid, Technical Director of Pavement Management at Applus+, indicated that investment in Spanish roads must be sustainable over time and not depend on economic cycles: "It is a strategic mistake to neglect the roads. Maintenance cannot be abandoned; expenses must be stable and sufficient."
    Pablo Sáez Villar, President of the Association of Infrastructure Maintenance and Operation Companies (ACEX), emphasised that “Spain has a good road network that has withstood use well, despite having a lower budget than countries like France, Germany and Italy. However, the lack of investment has a cumulative negative effect, as repair costs increase exponentially. One euro not invested today turns into five euros in four years and 25 euros in a decade.”
    Adequate investment allows administrations to rely on companies like Applus+ to ensure that transport infrastructure is in optimal condition. At Applus+, we participate in the entire road lifecycle, from initial conception and construction to the operational phase. Our engineers evaluate alternatives to provide user safety: we supervise road construction and have the technology and expertise to provide indicators on their condition and, if necessary, undertake corrective actions.
    We have state-of-the-art real-time data collection technologies, some developed internally at Applus+, so decision-making can leverage new technologies in all their aspects and respond to the increasing demands for sustainability, ensuring efficient and personalised management, as not all roads are equally prone to the same wear.
    It is a crucial task since the poor condition of roads can increase greenhouse gas emissions by 10% to 15%, according to Ángel Sampedro Rodríguez, Director of the Engineering and Architecture Department at Alfonso X el Sabio University (UAX), who stressed the need for roads in perfect condition for the proper functioning of autonomous cars, as “any unstable element can generate uncertainty” in the algorithms. “Smart roads require a digital transformation process that will demand an investment three to four times higher than the current one,” he adds.
    Jacobo Díaz Pineda, Director General of the Spanish Road Association (AEC), commented that historically, road maintenance was based on safety, a non-negotiable vector. "We are at a point of stability, but the introduction of new factors makes us reconsider things. We must reduce emissions and face extreme weather episodes," he explains.
    All the speakers called on the administrations to ensure that Spain's road infrastructure is not only safe and efficient but also sustainable and adapted to mobility technologies. Collaboration between public and private entities will be key to achieving these objectives and ensuring safe and ecological mobility.

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