AM4INFRA: Supporting Learning-by-Doing Though Living Labs

The purpose of the AM4INFRA (common framework for a European Life Cycle-based Asset Management approach for transport infrastructure networks) project is to foster optimization of transport systems by developing a common framework and language for the wide variety of European Infrastructure agencies.

The framework consists of:
– a common language framework that spans the line of sight from policy outcomes on the network level to the condition and functionality of the individual assets.
– a tool box of methods and models for whole life cycle and risk management that enables transparent and fact- based decision making across the line of sight.
– a set of data and information structures and tools, including an Asset Data Dictionary providing common definitions, a common core model for an asset information management system and a Business Case providing a concrete example.

In order to embed and verify elements of the AM4INFRA framework approach into real life scenarios and practices, the “Living Lab” concept was developed. In the context of the AM4INFRA project, the Rome Living Lab, Eindhoven Living Lab and London Living Lab covered the three central themes of the project: cross asset optimisation, cross border optimisation and cross network optimisation through an examination of asset life cycle management and risk-based approaches. In total, around 100 participants joined these Living Labs, representing over 20 infrastructure agencies or affiliate organisations.

The three produced a number of conclusions from both a technical and soft skills perspective. Generally, the application of living labs proved to be an avenue for strengthening the cooperation between infrastructure agencies and building a converging growing path provided inspiration, stimulated mutual learning and paved to way to a common language. In the Eindhoven Living Lab, the guidelines for the use of framework architecture for smart governance of transportation networks were validated showing many elements of the applied procedures and it also stimulated the conversation at a cross border level. In the London Living Lab, where Life Cycle Management across the networks was a central theme, dialogues were held bridging the gaps in understanding and approaches by the variety of agencies present. Finally, in Rome Living Lab, a comprehensive debate and approval of the asset data ontology map, delivered fertile ground for further cross-asset network optimization.

The Living Labs provided stakeholders the opportunity to understand each other’s needs and paradigms and getting acquainted with their counterparts in neighbouring agencies. Follow-up living labs are already planned, beyond the scope of the AM4INFRA project. Taken together the living labs to date showed that these provide a viable and energetic path forward for the wide variety of agencies involved in optimizing our European transport networks. By expanding the scale of application of living labs the legacy of AM4INFRA will be leveraged, and more importantly the learning curve to optimize EU networks will be steepened in a broader sense.

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