Why being an expert isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
There’s a crack in the system and more than a few cracks in our highway infrastructure as our roads appear to be quite literally crumbling under the weight of daily traffic. Cars, lorries, bikes are all crawling the network of roads like a mass of seething ants hustling from a to b and back again, relentlessly. Yet the weight of traffic should be no excuse – it is a mystery as to how we find ourselves in this predicament given that Britain has been building modern roads for decades. This has given us ample time to become experts in the field, or should we say on the road, enough time to learn from experience, to test and adjust, to be able to anticipate the demands of the future, simply to understand what works and what doesn’t.
So why are our roads in such poor condition? At what point did we stop learning about building roads and building them well? Times change and with them, technology more so. But despite ever-improving technology, why don’t we see a commensurate improvement in the quality of our roads? Why, more importantly, have we not yet applied ourselves to learning and using these new technologies?
Is complacency holding us back?
Well, according to Psychology Today, the more someone knows in their field, the more they stop learning. While there are different reasons for this, the main one seems to be that people who are looked up to as specialists, don’t want to be seen to be learning new things in case others think they aren’t the expert they claim to be. There can also be a dash of complacency involved as when people reach an ‘acceptable’ level of performance they stop making a deliberate effort to improve.
This mindset is holding us back, and it shouldn’t be. If you look at industries such as law, their learning practices are ever-evolving and a continuing process. Law and legal standpoints change all the time and if the experts in the industry don’t change with them, they become outdated and left behind.
The highway and construction industries need to be just as agile to evolve and grow in the same way, receptive and adaptive to developing technology, open to investing fully in intelligent professionalism, and focusing on solutions rather than age-old stop gaps. Perhaps it is a case of raising awareness and training among highway engineers so that when looking at concepts and feasibility in the design process of their works, they know and understand which solutions are available to them, they are up there with evolving technology and have a strong grasp of what it means in terms of direction of travel for their industry.
Innovation and CPD go hand in hand
How many know about the GlasGrid® geosynthetic asphalt reinforcement range including RapidRepair® and GridSeal® and the importance of choosing according to the specific surface-type and correct tensile strength. How many really understand what the cracks are telling them and are able to immediately see the difference between reflective, thermal and alligator cracking for example? The direction of travel and the patterning of the surface cracking can hold the key to understanding which reinforcement solution to apply for best effect. The GlasGrid® product line enables specific solutions to be applied to specific pavement instabilities ensuring waterproofing, bonding and strength are always achieved while being fast and easy to install and environmentally friendly.
Innovation, technology and continuous professional development is something we make our business at Asphalt Reinforcement Services and we will support you every step of the way from design through to installation.