An overview on portable roads and airfields: using of matting systems as temporary and semi-permanent roads and airfields


Matting systems used as roadways and airfields are new innovative techniques used to solve mobility problems and make it easier to get around and transport goods under different climate and traffic conditions. The portable roads are extremely versatile and can be used for servicing areas with poor ground conditions, heavy load requirements and high traffic density. They could be used to facilitate vehicular access into areas that contain saturated soils, wetlands or soft/poor subgrade conditions and make secluded areas accessible (remote regions in general.).

Moreover, portable roads can be used as temporary roads for emergency situations to enable aid deliveries to disaster areas, or during maintenance of existing roads or as temporary roads during a traffic jam.

Regarding the portable airfields, some portable runways have been developed to support the heavy rolling loads, including heavy unmanned aircrafts and heavy maintenance equipment. Most of the available portable airfields are used in remote areas where existing runway or airport infrastructure is limited or non-existent. The use of mats to construct an airfield depends on many factors, such as ground conditions, the type and weight of aircraft being deployed, the expected usage levels, and the time available to construct the airfield.

The objective of this report is to provide a practical perspective on construction and performance characteristics of some available portable roads and airfields systems that can be used to solve temporary and semi-permanent transport problems. Literature results are presented to educate the readers on available systems’ types and the best uses of each system in different applications.



Vision Zero for Sustainable Road Safety in the Baltic Sea Region

The second Vision Zero for Sustainable Road Safety in the Baltic Sea Region conference will be held in Tallinn, Estonia. VTI is part of the programme committee. 

Winter Road Congress 2020

The congress is held in Tempere, Finland. Anna Niska, senior research leader at VTI, lectures on sweep-salting of cycleways.

Electric Road Systems Conference (ERSC2020)

Welcome to the 4th Electric Road Systems Conference (ERSC2020), 12–13 May 2020 in Lund, Sweden



Kilometre tax is expected to have the greatest environmental impact

How can environmentally differentiated charges and other policy instruments reduce the freight transports' environmental impact? VTI has participated in a research project on this subject.


Increasing cycling among the elderly

Cycling is good both for your health and the environment. It can give you freedom and the ability to get out and about, not least for the elderly. But with age, it can become harder to choose your bike over your car. Maybe your fitness and balance are not...


VTI launches new research

VTI's ambition is to create cohesive maritime research in areas such as transport economics, logistics, environment, behavioural science, and navigation. One current assignment concerns the validation of research in a major international EU-project, Sea...


New study examines the mental health of seamen

Working at sea and being away from home for long periods can be mentally straining. In a preparatory study, researchers at VTI will examine how prevalent mental ill health is among ship crews in Sweden, and how the shipping companies' preventative efforts are...


Measurement of fatigue among bus drivers in London provides tools for better traffic safety

VTI has participated in a study of fatigue among London bus drivers. The study has given Transport for London the tools to implement measures that deal with fatigue among the city’s bus drivers.


VTI is a new partner in f3

Since the end of January, VTI is a partner in f3, the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels. f3 is a national knowledge centre for collaboration between industry actors, universities, institutes, and government agencies committed to...