2.8.1 Validation and final treatment selection
Validation of the works program is an essential part of the network management process. The computer based analysis assists in managing the road asset, but it does not replace engineering judgement and the need for validation. The validation process brings asset managing engineers and the software generated ‘first cut’ of the works program together.
The main purpose of the validation process is to check and review the suitability of the final option selected. Engineering judgement can only contribute to the technical solution; however, it cannot and must not interfere with the priorities based on economics and network level performance. The works program is developed on the basis of considering the whole network, whilst site inspection can focus only on a limited number of locations at the same time. To avoid disappointment, and the frequently heard comment that ‘based on its condition, we would have rather treated another section’, the purpose and methods of validation must be clearly understood and communicated to the personnel involved.
- checking whether the location referencing is correct, i.e. does the section in the DSS respond to the actual site?
- is the condition indicated in the works program consistent with the site condition?
- is the selected treatment appropriate for the site?
- do adjacent sections need similar treatment?
Validation should not and must not include consideration of priorities, i.e. the direct comparison of two different sites. If the priorities of the works program do not coincide with the priorities of the verifying engineer’s view, the disagreement must be resolved by adjusting the system, or clarifying the issue with the engineering department. By doing so, future disagreements can be easily avoided.
Validation or verification is sometimes also called ‘ground truthing’.