Interrelations of the paving process – A holistic ontological pavement endeavour

Natascha Poeran, Boskalis Nederland


Our world is rapidly changing. Globally we are experiencing the effects of developments in technology but also a change in the character of our society. As a people we have understood for example that we have to be more respectful to our surroundings, to become more environmentally aware, be less wasteful. And well, if one is a part of the pavement industry a small inner conflict might occur there. On the one hand asphalt pavements worldwide are constructed with secondary materials like concrete and masonry rubble in foundation layers. Even the bitumen binder in our asphalt is the waste material from oil refineries. On the other hand, our asphalt production still contributes to pollution and paving processes are quite artisanal and operating based on implicit knowledge.

To do better QRS* presents H.O.P.E., a Holistic Ontological Pavement Endeavour. H.O.P.E. considers the asphalt process from a holistic point of view and focuses on the interrelations instead of on its individual parts. By appointing and classifying these relations they can be optimized and/or (re)designed using of both theory and practice. And in this way further the pavement industry’s transition from implicit craftsmanship to explicit industrialization, from empirically based to functionally driven and from linear processes to circular strategies. In this paper H.O.P.E. is explained and its application is illustrated with special focus on the design-production-processing interrelations of the paving process.


Born and raised in the Netherlands, Natascha achieved her master’s degree in Road and Railway Engineering at Delft University of Technology. During her study she discovered her fascination for materials, their behaviour, and the fundamental challenges therein, especially for bitumen and asphalt. Now, Natascha works as a Research Consultant at the R&D department Quality, Research & Support, or QRS in short, at the Road and Infrastructure division of Royal Boskalis Westminster. Natascha combines knowledge of both theory and practice to design and optimize research projects, processes, and their interrelations.