, Former Director of Research Admin., Center for Transportation Studies
The Local Road Research Board (LRRB) sponsors research that provides information and new knowledge to help Minnesota's city and county engineers plan, design, build, and maintain local roadway systems. An important component of the LRRB's work is to define transportation issues that will benefit from research. One such issue is the complex task of planning for investment of limited resources to build and maintain local road systems. Factors to consider when prioritizing investment decisions include life cycle cost, impact of traffic volume and type, existing pavement conditions, impact to land use, safety, and density of service levels across a system.
Counties in states outside of Minnesota have recently implemented investment strategies that include actively converting paved roads to gravel and allowing paved roads to revert to gravel surfacing; these strategies are also being considered in Minnesota. The Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) partnered with the Local Road Research Board to plan and deliver a workshop to engage stakeholders and researchers to shape research approaches to examine this complex issue. A second workshop will bring practitioners and researchers together to suggest potential research, approaches, and tools to assist city and county public works leaders with effective communications and public engagement. The resulting research and tools will lead to valuable decision-making support information to guide Minnesota's local government agencies when conducting roadway systems planning and making investment decisions.