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  • 1.
    Afridi, Muhammad Amjad
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials. Skellefteå Municipality, Strömsörgatan 15, 93134 Skellefteå, Sweden.
    Municipal street pavement maintenance and management practices in Sweden2024Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A well-functioning street network is pivotal in the socio-economic development of a region. Street networks not only facilitate the movement of people and goods but also allocate space for utility services. Maintaining the street network in good condition and meeting the sustainability targets necessitate implementing optimal street maintenance strategies, leading to an efficient utilization of taxpayers' money. 

    The objectives of this Licentiate thesis are to analyse pavement management practices and challenges faced by Swedish municipalities, specifically focusing on asphalt concrete (AC) pavements within street networks. Additionally, it seeks to integrate a sustainability tool into pavement maintenance to select maintenance measures that contribute to sustainability goals at the municipal street network management level. Furthermore, the study aims to enhance municipal-level pavement maintenance approaches through the implementation of machine learning (ML) models within a pavement management system (PMS). 

    Within this context, three individual studies were conducted—two case studies and a survey involving Swedish municipalities. One case study explores sustainability framework application, whereas the other investigates the utilization of ML models in municipal AC pavement maintenance. The survey investigates the practices and challenges faced by municipal street network administrations in AC pavement maintenance.

    The sustainability framework SUNRA (Sustainability National Road Administrations) was adopted by the Swedish Transport Administration (STA) with a primary emphasis on promoting sustainability in pavement management on state-level roads. In this study, the framework has been tested, applied and further streamlined to be applicable for setting sustainability targets and monitoring sustainability performances at the project level within both the STA and municipal contexts. The aim was to simplify the framework so it is appropriate for investment, re-investments, maintenance and operation projects and also to enhance its applicability for various users. The study additionally explored how the framework could contribute to sustainability, identified the drivers and barriers for its application, and examined its applicability and adaptability to projects of varying complexities. The results indicate that the framework can be readily utilized and adapted for investment, reinvestment, maintenance, and operational pavement projects during the planning stage. Additionally, it is also suitable for small municipal establishments, construction or reconstruction of residential areas, and regular maintenance.

    A web-based questionnaire survey was disseminated to municipalities across the country to gather first-hand insights into the current practices and challenges associated with street maintenance at the municipal level in Sweden. Survey responses were received from 147 of the 290 (51%) municipalities nationwide. The study reveals that predominant pavement distress encompasses potholes, surface unevenness, and alligator cracking, with the most prevalent causes being pavement ageing, heavy traffic, and patches. Likewise, cold climate and population density serve as influential factors contributing to pavement deterioration. The automated survey methods for collecting pavement condition data, such as road surface scanning vehicles and application of commercial PMS, are very limited. On the contrary, the windshield method, a subjective approach for pavement condition assessment, is widely adopted among municipalities utilizing PMS. The allocation of the budget for maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction is higher in the northern regions of the country, as well as in densely populated municipalities.

    Manually collected pavement condition data for the years 2014 and 2018 were acquired from Skellefteå municipality to assess the performance of ML models in comparison to the observed pavement condition index (PCI) of the street network. In this context, the supervised ML models Linear Regression (LR), Random Forest (RF), and Neural Network (NN) were employed in conjunction with several variable combinations. The RF model, utilizing paired variables of pavement age (A) and pavement distresses (D) data, consistently demonstrated higher accuracy compared to the other models for residential streets. However, RF models constructed with paired variables of A and traffic (T) consistently outperformed other models in the context of non-residential streets. The significance of input variables fluctuates based on the model's complexity and the pavement performance objective. Nonetheless,  variable A consistently emerges as the predominant factor for predicting PCI in both residential and non-residential street models. 

    Further evaluation of the models and simplification of the SUNRA framework to enhance pavement performance and sustainability are recommended. 

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  • 2.
    Afridi, Muhammad Amjad
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials. Skellefteå Municipality, Strömsörgatan 15, 93134 Skellefteå, Sweden.
    Erlingsson, Sigurdur
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials. Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 58195 Linköping, Sweden.
    Englund, Cristofer ()
    Center for Applied Intelligent Systems Research (CAISR), Halmstad University, 30118 Halmstad, Sweden.
    Predicting pavement condition using an ML approach: A municipal case studyIn: Journal of Transportation Engineering, Part B: Pavements, ISSN 2573-5438Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Afridi, Muhammad Amjad
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials. Skellefteå Municipal, Skellefteå, Sweden..
    Erlingsson, Sigurdur
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials. Swedish Natl Rd & Transport Res Inst VTI, Linköping, Sweden.;Univ Iceland, Fac Civil & Environm Engn, Reykjavik, Iceland..
    Sjogren, Leif
    Swedish Natl Rd & Transport Res Inst VTI, Linköping, Sweden..
    Municipal street maintenance challenges and management practices in Sweden2023In: Frontiers in Built Environment, E-ISSN 2297-3362, Vol. 9, article id 1205235Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The municipal street network acts as a multifunctional asset by providing people, vehicles and public services with a well-functioning infrastructure. To keep it in good condition, optimal maintenance measures are required which would result in an efficient use of taxpayers' money. This paper investigates the street network deterioration processes and the management practices that the municipal administrations have applied in Sweden. The study is based on a survey with Swedish municipalities using questionnaires and complementary interviews. The answers provide insight into a wide range of common pavement distresses and deterioration factors, along with pavement management practices. The study identifies that potholes, surface unevenness and alligator cracking are the most cited challenges, while pavement ageing, heavy traffic and patches are the most noted causes. Similarly, the cold climate and population density are influential factors in pavement deterioration. Allocation of the maintenance and rehabilitation and reconstruction budget is higher in the northern part of the country as well as in densely populated municipalities. Condition data collection and use of commercial Pavement Management Systems (PMS) are limited. Addressing the challenges effectively may be possible through the enhancement of the budget, feasible/clear guidelines from municipal councils/politicians, and reducing the gap between street network administrations and utility service providers.

  • 4.
    Anderson-Skold, Yvonne
    et al.
    Swedish Natl Rd & Transport Res Inst, S-58195 Linköping, Sweden.;Chalmers Univ Technol, Dept Architecture & Civil Engn, S-41296 Gothenburg, Sweden..
    Afridi, Muhammad Amjad
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Materials. Skellefteå Municipal, Stromsorgatan 15, S-93134 Skellefteå, Sweden..
    Nordin, Lina
    Swedish Natl Rd & Transport Res Inst, S-58195 Linköping, Sweden..
    Patricio, Joao
    Swedish Natl Rd & Transport Res Inst, S-58195 Linköping, Sweden..
    Lindgren, Asa
    Swedish Transport Adm, POB 3057, S-90302 Umeå, Sweden..
    Johansson, Carl-Martin
    Swedish Transport Adm, POB 3057, S-90302 Umeå, Sweden..
    Olofsson, Alexandra
    Swedish Transport Adm, POB 3057, S-90302 Umeå, Sweden..
    Andersson, Angelica
    Swedish Natl Rd & Transport Res Inst, S-58195 Linköping, Sweden.;Linköping Univ, Dept Sci & Technol, Campus Norrköping, S-60174 Norrköping, Sweden..
    Erlingsson, Sigurdur
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering. Swedish Natl Rd & Transport Res Inst, S-58195 Linköping, Sweden.;Univ Iceland, Fac Civil & Environm Engn, IS-108 Reykjavik, Iceland..
    Development of the SUNRA Tool to Improve Regional and Local Sustainability of the Transportation Sector2022In: Sustainability, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 14, no 18, p. 11275-, article id 11275Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    To fulfil the global sustainable development goals (SDGs), achieving sustainable development is becoming urgent, not least in the transportation sector. In response to this, the sustainability framework Sustainability National Road Administrations (SUNRA) was developed to contribute to improving the sustainability performance of national road administrations across Europe. In the present study, the framework has been tested, applied and further developed to be applicable for target setting and follow-up at the project level at both the Swedish Transport Administration (STA) and at municipal levels. The aim was a framework relevant for investment, re-investments, maintenance and operation projects and also to make it more user applicable. The study also investigated how the framework can contribute to sustainability, identified drivers and barriers for applying the framework and examined whether the framework can be applied and adapted to projects of different complexities. The adaptations and developments were done in collaboration between researchers and practitioners. The results show that the framework could easily be used and adapted for investment, re-investment, maintenance and operation projects in the planning stage, as well as for small municipal establishments, construction or reconstruction of residential areas and frequent maintenance. The framework contributes to increased awareness on sustainability, and it provides a common structure and transparency on how infrastructure project goals/targets are set and fulfilled. The framework can also be applied to follow the fulfilment of the goals/targets and thereby adapt the project to better fulfil the goals. Identified barriers include the lack of obligations and lack of experience in using sustainability frameworks.

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