This paper describes how the French Directorate of Roads has for some time been aware that innovation in the roads sector can only develop on the condition that the processes have been tested and validated by procedures that associate the owners. The Directorate of Roads, responsible for the largest French highways network, supporting road engineering and organizing the most essential departments responsible for the construction of infrastructures, has for a number of years committed itself to a policy that aims to stimulate progress in highway engineering by involving itself alongside the contractors. Highway innovation presents major specific attributes that are worth noting: (1) full-scale site works are essential; (2) the sharing of risks between contractors and owners is justified; (3) the time required to provide assessments discourages normal distribution; and (4) the size of the network favors the use of innovation. A large network is more open to experimentation and the validation of innovations because any failure has a financial impact that is relatively less critical, because it makes it easier to find the site best adapted to carry out experiments, and because it provides the possibility of objective comparison. Under these circumstances, the objective is to favor the creative capacity of contractors by providing backing for the research policy as well as - and this is the ground-breaking nature of this policy - carrying through new processes, new methods and new products through to their operational stage. This joint validation framework between the State and the contractor will reveal the technical and financial validity of the innovation, followed by the stabilization of industrial processes able to provide performance levels acceptable to the road owners. When validated in this way, the innovation no longer has to provide the guarantees that are otherwise so difficult to provide for highway engineering works. Various parties are jointly working together to develop the innovation support policy: public owners, contractors, public engineering network, university laboratories.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Full conference proceedings available on CD-ROM.
  • Corporate Authors:

    World Road Association (PIARC)

    La Grande Arche, Paroi Nord, Niveau 5
    F-92055 La Defense Cedex,   France 
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 2003


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 5p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00987831
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 2 2005 12:00AM