Road Work Ahead: The Emerging Revolution in the Road Construction Industry

Stern, Sebastian, Bent Flyvbjerg, Julian Kirchherr, Alexander Budzier, Gabriel Valtuena-Ramos, Karlene Agard, Felix Reitz, 2021, Road Work Ahead: The Emerging Revolution in the Road Construction Industry (White Paper: McKinsey & Company).

21 Pages Posted: 27 May 2021

See all articles by Sebastian Stern

Sebastian Stern

McKinsey & Co. Inc.

Julian Kirchherr

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development

Gabriel Valtuena-Ramos

McKinsey & Co. Inc.

Felix Reitz

McKinsey & Co. Inc.

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School; IT University of Copenhagen; St Anne's College, University of Oxford

Alexander Budzier

University of Oxford - Saïd Business School

Karlene Agard

Oxford Global Projects; University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: May 21, 2021

Abstract

Road networks, on which governments around the world spend significant shares of their civil engineering budgets, are rightly considered the lifeline for modern and successful economies. While those have been transformed by numerous innovations and (especially digital) disruptions, both the process and materials used in building roads as well as their key parameters and functionalities have remained remarkably unchanged over the past years and decades.

However, this seemingly natural continuity should definitely not lead to the assumption that there will be no major changes in the road construction industry in the future. It is already becoming apparent that four megatrends – autonomous driving, automated production, digitization, and advances in road construction materials – as well as a new process flow for road construction are bound to not only make the roads of the future look significantly different from those of today, but also make road construction much faster and cheaper.

Our aspiration in publishing this white paper is to provide objective insights into the various aspects posed by the emerging revolution in the road construction industry, its implications, and the pressing question of how to prepare for the shake-up of the industry landscape. The ideas and information in this article are the result of many months of work by numerous experts from McKinsey & Company and Oxford Global Projects. This paper should offer the latest and most relevant know-how on the status of road construction in Europe, current challenges, and an assessment of the potential of novel technologies and processes.

Keywords: Roads, infrastructure, construction, automation, digitization

Suggested Citation

Stern, Sebastian and Kirchherr, Julian and Valtuena-Ramos, Gabriel and Reitz, Felix and Flyvbjerg, Bent and Budzier, Alexander and Agard, Karlene and Agard, Karlene, Road Work Ahead: The Emerging Revolution in the Road Construction Industry (May 21, 2021). Stern, Sebastian, Bent Flyvbjerg, Julian Kirchherr, Alexander Budzier, Gabriel Valtuena-Ramos, Karlene Agard, Felix Reitz, 2021, Road Work Ahead: The Emerging Revolution in the Road Construction Industry (White Paper: McKinsey & Company)., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3850767

Sebastian Stern (Contact Author)

McKinsey & Co. Inc. ( email )

Konigsallee 60C
Chicago, IL Quebec 60603
United States

Julian Kirchherr

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development ( email )

Heidelberglann 2
3508 TC Utrecht
Netherlands

Gabriel Valtuena-Ramos

McKinsey & Co. Inc. ( email )

Konigsallee 60C
Chicago, IL Quebec 60603
United States

Felix Reitz

McKinsey & Co. Inc. ( email )

Konigsallee 60C
Chicago, IL Quebec 60603
United States

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Oxford
Great Britain

IT University of Copenhagen ( email )

Copenhagen
Denmark

St Anne's College, University of Oxford ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Alexander Budzier

University of Oxford - Saïd Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

Karlene Agard

Oxford Global Projects ( email )

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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