2002 Special Edition No.9 No.2

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  • Encouraging Sustainable Development in the Roads Sector Through Greater Adoption of 'Commercial' Principles 
  • Road Safety Trends in the Asia-Pacific Region
  • The Work of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) 
  • The Influence Of Highways On National Development, Economic Growth And Job Creation -The Malaysian Experience
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Road Development in Indonesia
  • Initiatives in the Road Sector in India 
  • Development of the Cambodia Road Network
  • Development of the Road Network in Vietnam
  • The Challenges And Opportunities For Road Development In Singapore
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Road Development in The Philippines
  • Road Development in Samoa: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Biography: Kieran Sharp
  • 11th REAAA Conference

for the full journal, please download here Pdf icon2.png


Ian Johnston

President, REAAA

The REAAA Commitment to Knowledge Sharing

REAAA was conceived in 1973 and born in 1976. lt now has more than 1,400 members from some 35 countries. lt exists to promote the science and practice of road engineering and related professions in the region. Our guiding principles revolve around the sharing of ideas, experiences, knowledge and technology. We do this formally by conducting conferences, short courses and workshops and by publishing newsletters and this Journal. Less formally we provide a mechanism for networking between professionals, government agencies and private companies, throughout our region.

The Heads of Road Authorities (HORA) Meeting

A recent initiative of REAAA was to invite the most senior people in road asset management in the region to a meeting with the principal purpose of identilying common problems and sharing experiences in dealing with those problems. Over 22 countries accepted our invitation and t\ivo Ministers, two Deputy Ministers and more than 40 senior officers joined the international governing Council of REAAAin Kuala Lumpur in April2002. The Road Engineering Association of Malaysia (REAN4, the official Chapter of REAAA), assisted by the Public Works Department of Malaysia, the Malaysian HighwayAuthority and supported by many individuals and companies, combined to make this a most sionificani event.
To ensure open, frank discussion of the issues facing road asset managers in the region the HORA meeting was held in camera. However, a separate public seminar and exhibition was convened to facilitate a broader exchange of experiences. This special issue of the Journal contains the papers presented to that public seminar and serves as a very useful overview of the situation in a cross section of the countries in the region.
For many of the papers included here we had the full text. However, for some, we had only a Powerpoint presentation and we have done our best to convert that into a readable paper. We accept responsibility for any errors we may have made in this process and offer our apologies to the authors. I am indebted to the Journal Edito( Mr. Kieran Sharp, for his enormous efforts in putting this material together.

The Key Outcomes from the HORA Meeting

The meeting was very open and constructive and, while it identified a number of common problems shared through the region, it is not surprising that it did not identify universal solutions.
As the inaugural HORA meeting, the principal objective was to set an 'agenda'for REAAA in its attempts to increase the effectiveness of its knowledge transfer efforts. While a large number of specific problems were identified they can be grouped into four quite fundamental regional issues.

Rate of Growth of Infrastructure

The majority of countries in this region are growing extremely rapidly, both in terms of population and in terms of economic development. This provides an imperative for the rapid development of transport, particularly road, infrastructure. The demand for infrastructure growth, in turn brings into focus three types of problem:

  • How to finance the rapid expansion of the network. Here, the issues relate to private sector funding, cost reduction through institutional reform, and the raft of charging mechanisms that may be applied to raise dedicated revenue.
  • The urgent need for better tools and processes to resolve the conflicts created by trying to maximise the economic and social development benefits of infrastructure investment while minimising the potentral loss of life and environmental impacts of that infrastructure.
  • How to bring about institutional reform and, particularly, how to manage the boundaries between traditional institutions dealing with different aspects of the problems alluded to above

Managing Traffic Growth

Accompanying the rapid development of road infrastructure is an explosion in the number of vehicles seeking to use the road system and in the number of road users. Many natrons in the region not only have very high proportions of tlvo-wheeled vehicles (both motorised and non- motorised) but have developed unique types of passenger carrying conveyances. Such disparate mixes were never experienced by the now motorised world so there is litlle historical experience to draw upon. Congestion, and its altendant pollution, are creating major problems. The motorised world is turning towards intelligenl transport systems (lTS) and one specific question for countries in our region is what role ITS may play in solving the operational needs.

Maintenance Management

Rapid infrastructure growth and an explosion in vehicle use brings with it the problem of maintenance. There can be a temptation to invest more in new intrastructure than to seek to gain maximum life from infrastructure when the financial resources are limited. The decision support tools by which countries make choices require further development and the adaptation of existing tools for rapidly motorising countries requires special effort. This extends to a need for training to enhance the expertise of staff.
At a more particular level, the overloading of axles is a fundamental problem which runs counter to standard asset management maintenance strategies.

Road Safety

The World Health Organisation has identified injury from road crashes as the next "global epidemic". The faster the rate of growth in traffic the faster the rise in the road toll. In many countries in our region the high frequency of two-wheeled vehicles and other special vehicles compounds the difficulty of protecting people in the event of crashes. Again, the most effective countermeasures from the motorised world may be much less effective in the unique environments in our region.

Where to Next?

The reader will note that answers are not provided io the above list of questions. This inaugural HORA meeting was designed to reach agreement on the key issues countries in the region face in common. lt serves as an agenda for REAAA in its tuture efforts. One decision already taken is that the HORA meetings will continue, with their fulure focus specifically directed towards seeking solutions.