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Designing appropriate contracts for achieving efficient winter road and railway maintenance with high performance quality: A survey of the state of practice in Sweden
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4841-5056
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0889-6078
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, ISSN 1756-669X, E-ISSN 1756-6703, Vol. 6, no 4, 399-415 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - For a long time, the winter maintenance of the Swedish road and railway network had been performed in-house by Swedish Transport Administration, Swedish local authorities i.e. municipalities and Stockholm public transport. During the last 15 years the winter operation and maintenance of these state infrastructures have been performed by public procurement and contracting from independent contractors, where in practice the lowest price is the dominating selection criteria. The aim of this paper is to investigate and identify how these contracts are designed and how satisfied the parties are with the contract and the quality of the performed work during the winter and point our directions for improvement. Design/methodology/approach - The study was conducted by a literature review and followed by semi-structured interviews and electronic questionnaire. Findings - The results of the study which are based on the interviews and the online questionnaire show that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the contracts among both clients and contractors. Practical implications - The article prepares a basis showing how a contract affects the quality of the performed winter road and railway maintenance services. Originality/value - The findings lead to a number of suggestions about how to improve the contracts, e.g. having a separate winter maintenance contract to increase the quality of performed winter maintenance measures, a more partnering-like structure where consultations and adjustment can be made during the contract period. A partnering structure also makes it less important to get all the details right in the contract.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 6, no 4, 399-415 p.
Keyword [en]
Construction and maintenance contract, Partnering, Payment, Procurement, Remuneration, Service quality
National Category
Infrastructure Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166960DOI: 10.1108/IJQSS-06-2014-0033Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84927587121OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-166960DiVA: diva2:814946
Note

QC 20150528

Available from: 2015-05-28 Created: 2015-05-21 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Efficient Winter Road Maintenance: A Study of Technical and Contractual Issues
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efficient Winter Road Maintenance: A Study of Technical and Contractual Issues
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Since ancient times, roads have tied people and cultures together. Roads have been createdwith the aim of facilitating trade and cultural exchange among different regions in the world. After the technologic development in vehicle industry and dramatically increase of motoring in the world during the past century road communication has gained a great importance for transporting people and goods. Thus, good safety and accessibility on roads all year round is now a vital necessity for a healthy economy in all modern societies. In order to keep roads safe, available for use with high transport quality they need to be maintained in real time. One of the most difficult tasks in this context is to keep the roads in good condition and accessible even during winter. The main objective of this doctoral thesis is to attempt to specify the most efficient ways of executing winter road maintenance.  The preliminary issue in this context is whether it is the use of current assistive tools, that is, technical aspects that should be optimized and developed or whether it is the way in which winter maintenance services are procured and outsourced, that is, contractual aspects that should be improved which could give the optimal impact for both clients and contractors and make winter road maintenance more effective, or both issues. In order to define the outline of the research project a comprehensive state of the art survey was initiated with the intention of collecting and gaining insights into the earlier studies in the research area. Three basic areas associated with the performance of winter road maintenance were considered to be most relevant for review due to the anchorage between the areas. The selected areas were climatological, technical and contractual aspects. The literature review was followed by an electronic questionnaire survey. The results of the study in this stage showed that current technical methods almost functioned in a reasonable manner but there was an imprecise dissatisfaction with the current maintenance contract. The second stage of the research consisted of a number of additional empirical investigations in order to identify contractual problematic issues behind the current winter road maintenance in Sweden. Generally, those factors that are rarely considered as potential underlying causes to costly performance of winter road maintenance in Sweden were studied in this research project for example improper use of related technical assistive tools, procurement of improper bundled winter services and inappropriate contract structure. This thesis consists of six papers, five of which are related to each other, and the first one is completely independent but within research area. Findings in the thesis contributes to extend understanding about; how designing appropriate contracts can improve winter road maintenance, how proper use of assistive tools can reduce unnecessary winter road maintenance costs and minimize road traffic disruptions and delays, how a partnering structure in contracts can create confidence and trust between clients and contractors that in turn leads to minimizing or eliminating conflicts and disputes between parties involved, how choice of appropriate procurement methods through proper bundling of winter road services can contribute to shorten the procurement process and create incentives for contractors, and how selection of proper payment mechanisms can contribute to higher service quality of performed winter road measures. Additionally, an adequate knowledge and understanding of climate, proper knowledge of road weather and its impact on winter road traffic is essential for contribution of better planning of how to maintain the road network during winter. Since understanding about winter issues and its effect on winter road traffic is far from complete and winter road maintenance in the cold regions is a similar challenge, broad and complex, the results of this research may even contribute to improving winter maintenance problems in the countries with severe winters like Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. viii, 70 p.
Series
TRITA-TSC-PHD, 13:003
Keyword
climate, road climate and weather, road surface roughness, road friction, winter tyre, winter maintenance tools, RWIS, weather station, winter maintenance, contract type, road maintenance contract, winter maintenance contract, partnering, strategic alliance, public procurement, tender, incentives, bundling services, payment mechanism, remuneration models
National Category
Civil Engineering
Research subject
Civil and Architectural Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-141945 (URN)
Public defence
2014-03-12, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 14:23 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20140227

Available from: 2014-02-27 Created: 2014-02-26 Last updated: 2017-06-15Bibliographically approved

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Lind, HansBirgisson, Björn

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