Developing Kenya's Pavement Maintenance Management System (KE-PMMS)
Owuor, Susan Apudo
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Kenya's road network plays a significant role on the performance of the economy. As a facilitator of circulation of goods and services, the road network is a vital element for the functioning of markets, contributing to match supply and demand. In addition, it is a key instrument for regional integration, and generates a supportive environment for foreign investment. Thus, the condition of the road network has substantial influence in the country's economic competitiveness and is one of the decisive elements in determining the price of goods. In order to keep Kenya's road network in an optimal condition. regular maintenance should be applied. Maintenance treatments are however costly and the maintenance budget is usually limited. This calls for optimal allocation of available resources. There is need therefore to know (i) which sections of the network require maintenance, (ii) when maintenance activities should be performed and (iii) what type of maintenance activities should be applied. The Roads Department, which is responsible for maintenance of the road network, requires a systematic approach to gathering and analyzing pavement condition data so as to effectively address the challenges highlighted above. Such a systematic approach is achieved by means of a pavement maintenance management system (PMMS). The aim of this research was to develop a Microsoft Excel program that could be used to store pavement inventory and condition data, analyse the data and produce pavement condition ratings which would then be used to make decisions on the appropriate interventions. Development of the Microsoft Excel based PMMS involved the following basic steps; (i) identification of PMMS requirements, (ii) determination of the outputs which the PMMS was expected to deliver, and the categories of data and models that the PMMS required in order to produce the intended outputs, (iii) design of PMMS architecture and (iv) identification of computer hardware and software . requirements. Once design of the system was complete, the researcher assembled a team of engineers to assist in data collection. Three basic techniques were used to collect data for this study. These included; (i) observations through visual condition surveys, (ii) review of relevant road design reports obtained from the Roads Department and (iii) semi-structured interviews of the staff at the Roads Department. The final stage of development of the PMMS involved presentation of the outputs which the system would be expected to deliver when fully operational. Examples of outputs include; road inventory showing attributes of each section, route diagrams relating section length to distress types, summary of pavement condition ratings as well as remaining life and recommended pavement treatments among others. The outputs are available in different formats including lists, table. graphs and charts. This study has successfully demonstrated that a simple user - friendly Pavement Maintenance Management System (PMMS) can be developed and used by the Roads Department to assess pavement condition and prioritize maintenance works. Since the study was conducted along the Northern Corridor Road, the researcher recommends an expansion of the use of the PMMS beyond the Northern Corridor Road to cover the entire road network in Kenya. Further research should also be conducted in order to develop and incorporate into the PMMS, distress prediction models which will be used to accurately predict future pavement condition. This would significantly reduce data collection costs.