Altamirano, M.A. and W.M. de Jong: Opportunistic behavior and its use in road maintenance markets. Applying gaming-simulation to explore its consequences across time, pp. 13-21. In: The Transportation Research Record 2108 (2009). [s.l.]: Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2009. ISSN: 0361-1981. International Journal
Gaming simulation has frequently proved a valuable method of exploring future scenarios in various fields of policy making. Researchers applied gaming to examine the long-term consequences of contracting out the maintenance of roads. The game, Road Roles, simulates this new situation at an abstract level. Instead of traditional prescriptive contracts, long-term, performance-based contracts are used to cover a whole road network. This new type of contract allows the contractor to decide the location, timing, and type of work to be carried out under the condition that a certain performance level be maintained for a whole network over a number of years. An explanation is given on how the game can contribute to understanding the consequences and presents the results from 14 different sessions held in the Netherlands, Finland, and Spain. Three of the most characteristic and colorful game runs are described in detail. Opportunistic behavior seems to play a substantial role during the tendering and implementation process of road maintenance markets. The role of the road authority and especially its anticipation of contractor behavior, its subtlety in administering specifications, and its incentives for good and bad behavior are key in averting perversities and a decline in road quality. Many agencies, but not all, seem to fail in this important mission.