Types of road infrastructure?

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The road infrastructure includes roads, signage, junctions, bridges, and rights-of-way. Comprehensive inventories are required to assess road conditions, safety, and capacity. Data must be entered in an accessible format to maintain efficiency. Public-private partnerships for financing and construction are common in Europe and Australia.

The road infrastructure of a particular region is the sum total of existing roads, streets and highways. It also includes the signage, junctions, bridges and rights-of-way associated with roads. Comprehensive inventories of these public assets are often required by local jurisdictions. The state of the road infrastructure is often assessed based on road conditions, safety and capacity. Funding decisions for road repair, replacement, or widening are made based on the state of the road infrastructure and future needs shaped by traffic planners.

To quantify road condition, safety and capacity, actionable data must be entered in a format that is accessible to those who collect it and those who use it. Rigorous and consistent documentation of road infrastructure is one of the keys to keeping the system running efficiently. A well-designed database can present raw data and be manipulated to perform simulations of traffic patterns based on detailed data.

The detailed level of data at the segment level contrasts with the typical high-level planning conducted by traffic engineers. A particular curve may be responsible for limiting the overall capacity of a highway, but this fact may not be visible without a segment-by-segment analysis. Similarly, a road may be labeled as having an above-average accident rate when poor signage is the problem.

Counties, states and nations allocate significant resources to provide a road infrastructure capable of supporting the commerce of businesses and the transportation needs of citizens. In the United States, road infrastructure is maintained through departmental budgets and the collection of tolls and special taxes levied on the sale of gasoline. Although considered an asset, roads are actually a maintenance and ongoing service burden once built.

As a financing mechanism for road infrastructure, a public-private partnership (PPP) is more common in Europe and Australia than in the United States. Worldwide PPP investigations by the US Department of Transportation have concluded that the PPP model is viable. In PPPs, the financing and construction of road infrastructure is carried out by private companies. In most cases, maintenance and lifecycle improvement responsibilities are also assumed. Government agencies take on more of a customer role, paying taxes in exchange for transportation services.

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