Transport facilities are an important part of urban infrastructure. Their quality and functionality have a crucial impact on the daily life of every person and on the whole society. Highway engineering combines different knowledge such as geotechnics, urban planning, traffic engineering and economics. The transport infrastructure stages are planning, construction, management and maintenance. All the stages have to consider security, sustainable development and cost efficiency. In addition, transport infrastructures must be friendly with the landscape and should be comfortable to the user. The number of factors that influence transport facilities is growing constantly, for example, the increase of road side safety planning.
Road side design can affect strongly the consequences of running off the road accidents.
The research in Highway engineering has to solve actual issues and anticipate what will be the needs of our modern dynamic society. One of the most important challenges is that traffic volumes are steadily increasing while the road management and maintenance budgets have been reduced, moreover the requirements for pavement durability and road maintenance quality will increase. Finnish Highway engineering research is focus on durable pavement and sustainable construction, while taking in account environmental aspects as recycle and alternative materials usage.
The population density is growing in certain areas, land use planning is has to consider that fact. Planners need to solve the equation form by mobility, comfort and environmental efficiency use of land. This requires close cooperation with experts in various fields. The key question is what kind of living environment we want to create? Although the landscape design and urban planning have been segregated from Highway engineering over the years getting into their own teaching and research field, cooperation stills an important factor to achieve creative functional cost efficiency solutions.
Land use planning affects roads and street environment.
Road construction education began in the late 1800s when Finland built the first railways to substitute the roads for horse-drawn vehicle and the channels for shipping. Road construction was one of the first disciplines in higher education school. It had professorships at Helsinki University in 1908-1972. At that time under the name of road construction was included the fields of railway construction, agriculture and road construction. The name was change to Highway Engineering due to the rising of car importance and the change on the focus of research, which turned to design and construction of roads and streets. Around the same time, transport technology separates and got its own professorship. Highway Engineering professorship in the Aalto University School of Engineering is the only one that exists actually in the universities of Finland.
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