Skid resistance is defined as the frictional resistance at the interface between a vehicle tyre and the road surface. It plays an important part in the safety of road users: a correlation has been demonstrated between the skid resistance of pavements and accident rates (see the diagram opposite) [of course, there are many other possible causes of accidents: human error, vehicle technical failure, weather conditions, other infrastructure-related factors, etc.]. Wet pavement skid resistance is considered here, since dry pavement skid resistance is rarely a problem. A rough contact between the road and the tyres makes it possible to utilize the friction forces in braking. These friction forces also allow easier cornering. As a result, it is obvious that road managers should pay much attention to skid resisistance and alert road users in time of any local problem with poor skid resistance, and also that they should replace the pavement as soon as possible by an adequately skid-resistant pavement.
Society yearns for safer, smoother and cleaner traffic. The decrease in public investments, coupled with these justified social expectations, is underlining the need for new answers to the traditional challenges. Road managers and operators are currently working towards a culture of network optimization. These various factors are at the core of the exponential growth of intelligent transport systems (ITS).
BRRC contributes to this area by collecting and disseminating information. A good knowledge of the potential of ITS as an alternative to more traditional, more physical methods, is essential for decision-makers and road planners. These systems, which come in various forms and formats, are intended for the road network as a whole, from motorways to municipal roads.
The objective of the European project INTRO (Intelligent Roads)was to demonstrate that an efficient application of present information and communication technologies could bring “intelligence” to roads and offers unique opportunities to better manage and maintain the road
HERMES – Harmonization of European Routine and research Measuring Equipment for Skid Resistance was a FEHRL-funded pre-normative project that aimed to lay the foundations for consistent European standardization of skid resistance measurement on roads and runways. Underlying the work was the idea that the project should give the initial impetus to the implementation of a common scale of friction, the so-called EFI (European Friction Index), together with an associated harmonized calibration procedure, in all European countries.
The Mobility – Safety – Road Management Division worked together with engineering firm EGIS in a preliminary study on dynamic mobility and safety management for the installation of variable message signs (VMS) in the Brussels Capital Region. VMS can be used for real-time dissemination of information to road users. Motorists can use this information to change their behaviour or routes.