Promoting sustainable roads through public procurement: encouraging innovation and sustainability in the road infrastructure sector while modernising public tendering processes

Public administrations spend € 2 trillion annually on public procurement, in other words, around 14% of EU GDP. Public authorities can be major drivers of innovation if they provide appropriate incentives for industry players to develop more durable solutions through the formulation of appropriate award criteria. According to data from the International Transport Forum, EU and EFTA Member States spent approximately € 80 Billion on roads in 2013. Against a backdrop of limited public spending, it is essential that every euro spent on road infrastructure yields the maximum possible socio-economic return. This also implies the ability for authorities to purchase innovative solutions which give a better long-term return and at the same time, provide industry players with the appropriate incentives to innovate. Existing rules for public procurement to date have proved, however, to be a formidable barrier to the uptake of new products and innovative techniques that are both greener and more durable. Despite improvements in recent years, the vast majority of public tenders for road related services have been based on the principle of the ‘cheapest initial price’, failing to provide an appropriate framework for the holistic assessment of solutions based on their environmental performance and their durability. In this sense, the new EU legislation package for public procurement in force since April 2016 should represent a positive step forward. Aimed at supporting the uptake of greener and more innovative solutions, the new Directive intends to provide road authorities with a framework that moves away from the principle of the ‘cheapest price’ and encourages the evaluations of tenders based on cost effectiveness approach on the basis of life-cycle costing.


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  • Pagination: 10p

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01641707
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Jul 25 2017 9:44AM