Learning to Procure Infrastructure Management


Andreas Hartmann

Geert Dewulf

Project Duration:

April 2007 – December 2007

Project Partners:


Imperial College

Project Description:

The Partner Programme for Infrastructure Management (PIM) at Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) is searching for innovative ways of working in the operation and maintenance of road and water infrastructures. The development of new knowledge and practices is taking place on the operational level of RWS: in the regional business units. PIM provides the freedom for operational employees to experiment in their direct working environment. Besides the strong involvement of operational staff in the research and development process PIM is striving to share knowledge and experience with other countries and the construction market. Public partners of PIM are the Highways Agency (England) and the Flemish Infrastructure Agency (Belgium). Market partners are Grontmij (The Netherlands) and Atkins (England). The learning and innovation process of PIM is organised around 5 pilot projects in different regional business units of RWS. The pilot projects have been running since 2005. In November 2007 the programme arrived at an important milestone. Based on the results that have been achieved so far the future direction and structure of the programme have to be determined. A critical question that needs to be answered is: Should the results of the pilot projects be rolled out or should the pilots continue experimenting?

The main objective of the research is to examine:


how and what the pilot projects in Zeeland and Hagglanden have been learned and


what implications for the future learning in and from both pilot projects follow from these lessons learnt

In order to answer the second questions appropriately we place both pilot projects in a broader context and complement our research with two additional objectives.

From an organisational perspective we investigate:


how the learning from innovative practices takes place at RWS

We particularly focus on the learning which takes place in and from other innovation programmes at RWS. That will help us to understand the general conditions for learning present in the RWS organisation and thus also in the pilots.

From an international perspective we analyse:


how learning from innovative practices takes place at the Highways Agency (HA) in England

Here our focus is on learning from the development and implementation of new types of maintenance contracts at the HA. Since learning at RWS is centred on new maintenance procurement, the long experience of the HA in this regard will be a useful point of reference for the learning in the RWS pilots.