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RoSy History

More than 25 years’ export of Danish know-how

By former Marketing Director Jørn R. Kristiansen, Sweco Pavement Consultants

JNKMore than 25 years ago systematic road network maintenance was a very hot topic in Denmark. A number of concepts were tested under the umbrella term ‘Pavement Management Systems’. Only a few of the concepts have survived until today and developed into wide-ranging road administration systems.


One of the road administration systems has also gained a foothold in the international arena as well. The system is now being used daily in a number of countries both in and outside of Europe. At first it was solely export of Danish know-how, but now we experience “pay back” the other way round to the benefit of the Danish road agencies.

It all started in the Danish municipality of Midtjurs
As it is often the case in life, this adventure also started on a small scale. In the spring of 1983 the municipality of Midtdjurs in Denmark had ordered a number of bearing capacity measurements to be conducted with a falling weight deflectometer on its road network. According to the traditional practice the results were presented as “reinforcement need” and “residual life” for the individual road sections.

One of the sections needed a reinforcement layer of 60 mm to ensure a residual life of 10 years. However Midtdjurs Municipality thought a little further ahead and asked: “What would happen if we laid out a layer a little thinner or a little thicker? There must be some sort of financial aspect in this. Would you be able to make a calculation for us?”

The answer was yes and turned out to be the start of what was later to become known as a Pavement Management System (PMS) which has today developed into RoSy RAMS (Road Asset Management System) for roads and RoSy APMS (Airport Pavement Management System).

The system for Midtdjurs Municipality was a “hand-made” system and it contained data on the road distress situation and reinforcement need combined with economic considerations. The last-mentioned was best known as “capital payoff factor” and was described in the Laboratory report No. 50 published by the Danish Road Directorate some years earlier. It was a system and from an international point of view one of the first PMS capable of combining a distress picture with both bearing capacity and economy in one routine. Especially at first this fact turned out to be one of the issues that distanced the system from many other systems available outside Denmark at that time.

Then things moved very fast
Soon the first system developed into more systems due to inquiries from neighbouring municipalities. Only the first system was “hand-made”. Now time had come to use computer technology - promoted by the personal computers’ (PC) introduction to the market.

The first computer-based PMS for a PC saw the light of the day in 1984. At first the system was, however, only applied at the laboratory of the Danish Group Phønix Contractors A/S as a support to all the municipalities wanting to have their road maintenance optimised.

Already in 1985 Hillerød Municipality had, as the first municipality in Denmark, Phønix PMS (the name of the system at that time) installed on their brand new PCs in the road administration department.

In 1987 the PMS activities in the Phønix laboratory became so comprehensive that it was time to turn the activities into an independent business unit and Phønix Pavement Consultants (PPC) was established. Approximately 10 years later in 1999 Grontmij | Carl Bro A/S acquired the business unit and today we are Members of Sweco Danmark A/S under the name of Sweco Pavement Consultants.

In connection with the establishment of PPC, it was also time to find a name for the PM system and start exploiting the many possibilities abroad. The name, RoSy (Road Systems), of the system was registered as a trademark in several countries and today it is a registered trademark in all of EU.

150_Ulfborgtest 909500The setup of good models for a PMS required good background data. The pictures are from a 15 year test project on 11 roads in the Danish Municipality of Ulfborg-Vemb. The conditions shown are from 1990, 1995 and 2000.









The activities abroad started in Norway
The fact that Norway was the first country in which to test, whether a Danish concept would be applicable abroad, was entirely due to a fiery soul among the colleagues. He was convinced that this system was something that could also be of benefit to the Norwegians. If only he could have one month to travel around Norway to introduce the concept to the Norwegian road agencies, he was convinced that this would be a success. The tour of Norway was arranged as three seminars where the RoSy concept was presented and the first municipality to decided to apply the concept was Frederiksstad.

It should be stressed that at this stage it was not just a system (computer-system) but a concept. A fact, which meant, that the users continued using the system. In this way the foreign users started doing things in a Danish way – at least to begin with. This formed and still is an invaluable and good basis for sharing experiences between the parties.

The following years, 10-20 municipalities started using the concept and today approx. 40 of the largest Norwegian municipalities apply both system and concept in their daily work. Over the later years Norwegian users have contributed to the improvement and design of the system as we know it today, through their feedback based on experience gained through many years of applying the system and the concept.


150_Norge _DaarligfortauThe condition of the footpaths in Norway was also a challenge




Germany was the next country
Phønix introduced falling weight deflectometers at an exhibition in Munich and this was the start of the considerable spreading of the concept in Germany. At the same time this was the starting signal to the establishment in 1987 of the German subsidiary GSA, Gesellschaft für Strassenanalyse mbH with the purpose of introducing the system to Germany - at that time Western Germany.

Seen with Danish export eyes the establishment in Germany was a success in itself because at that time there was a very keen competition with similar systems in the market. GSA has existed for more than 20 years and has spread the Danish/German technology and concept to all of Germany. Today more than 300 users apply smaller and larger parts of the concept.

Asset management in Germany
The legislation in Germany has over recent years contributed to increasing the application of the concept and the system, as the German government has decided that in future all public assets must be registered, valued, booked and written off.

These requirements have contributed to the development of a genuine Asset Management System and the concept was tested in both Sæby and Rødby Municipalities in Denmark, before the restructuring of the municipal sector in Denmark. At present the agencies in Denmark hesitate a bit to include infrastructural assets in the public accounts and consequenctly the financial prioritization of the public funds.

The Cezech Republic - the next large country
In connection with the considerable changes in the Czech Republic at the beginning of the 90ties, the Czech road directorate decided to introduce PMS to the superior road network and all large roads – a total of approx. 55,000 km.

In collaboration with a group of former students at the Brno Technical University we submitted a bid just like 30 other system suppliers from all over the World did. Our group was awarded the assignment for approx. 48,000 km roads along with a three year implementation contract running from 1994 to 1997. After the expiry of this period the Czech state expected that the system would be so well implemented that it could be a sustainable system in the 72 SUS (counties) in which it had been implemented.

This proved to be true and the joint-venture company PavEx Consulting s.r.o. was established for the purpose and today the company still works with the activities. Both concept and system survived the Czech structural reform at the beginning of 2000 which reduced the 72 SUS (counties) to 15 regions.

Sweden was included at the end of the 90ties
Relatively late the first steps were taken to test the concept with the Swedish road authorities. The relatively late entry in Sweden was partly due lack of resources, partly due to the fact that we had to be mentally ready first.

At first things were a bit tough. This was not least due to the many systems and concepts already present in this market. Today the situation is different as more than 40 Swedish municipalities are using the concept. Malmö Municipality invited tenders to bid on a large project in EU-framework and our technology and know-how again proved marketable.

Also other countries in Europa
When working internationally with systems, our experience is, that the concept must be flexible and adaptable for the individual purposes. In the projects described above the concept is not only applied as PMS, AMS, etc. It is applied as a genuine road administration system as well handling public and administrative assignments combined with operation and maintenance of the road network.

Another example is the application of the concept for a project in Portugal. Here the concept is applied for control and management of two large PPP projects for a total of approx. 200 km motorway and with project horizons of 30 years. The World Bank has earlier financed the implementation of the system in Macedonia. In Iceland RoSy has been in operation over the last 10 years. Both the Icelandic road directorate and the city of Reykjavik are applying the concept.

Countries outside Europa
Countries outside Europe have also become familiar with the Danish concept. In Vietnam RoSy was implemented in 180 regions and today the system is working in symbiosis with the World Bank system HDM4. HDM4 is applied for calculation of fund allocations to the individual regions and in the individual regions RoSy is applied for optimisation of where the funds should actually be applied and to “feed” HDM4 with basic information about the roads.

The so-called TRACECA countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) have been introduced to the concept via an EU financed project. A special challenge, because the system was required to be delivered and applied in the Russian language.


Kasakhstan: A very interested audience to the implemention of RoSy® in Kasakhstan.




The recent 25 years have shown that a concept and a system for road administration mainly developed on the basis of Danish know-how have proved viable also outside the borders of Denmark. It should be stressed that the development has been done with contributions and feedback from the Danish municipalities and a collaboration of long standing.

Not least the many contributions from users have ensured this. Another basic parameter has without doubt been the fact that the concept has been capable of growing and developing with the assignments and in this way been capable of complying with the wider and wider use of the concept.

It is a thought-provoking curiosity that a question asked in Midtdjurs Municipality in Denmark more than 25 years ago – whether it would not be financially possible to optimise a reinforcement thickness – has developed into a concept, which from dealing only with roads developed into handling winter service, citizen reporting, lighting, bridge system and Asset Management, excavation permits, accidents, traffic plans, etc. All this qua the contributions from the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish municipalities and not least the requirements of German and international users.

RoSy Airport Pavement Mangement system
Why not use an outstanding system for airports as well? We have done so for many years in our consultancy work for national as well as international airports. Now our system has been implemented by several of our clients in their daily work with maintenance of pavements and in their strategic planning of maintenance measures and budgetting.


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Lars Østerbye
Lars Østerbye
Department Director
+45 8228 1484


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