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Concrete Pavement Technology Update

August 2008

Concrete Pavement Research Roadmap Tracks Underway

Over the past few years the FHWA, in cooperation with Iowa State University (ISU) and the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA), has developed the Concrete Pavement Road Map, which outlines a collaborative approach to strategic concrete pavement research and technology transfer for the future. The development process relied heavily on input from the stakeholder community. Twelve research tracks were identified and defined.

The Road Map Operations Group, a team assembled by ISU’s National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center) under contract to the FHWA, is working with industry and government partners to get the research off the ground. Although some work is ongoing in all 12 tracks, in early 2008 three tracks had framework documents developed and are now “officially” getting underway. These are the Mix Design and Analysis track, the Nondestructive Testing track, and the Surface Characteristics track. While these framework documents cannot be released until reviewed by the Roadmap Executive Committee, the research addressed is briefly described below.

Track 1: Performance-Based Concrete Pavement Mix Design System. The final product of this track will be a practical yet innovative concrete mixture design procedure with new equipment, consensus target values, and common laboratory procedures. Full integration of both structural design and field quality control will define a “lab of the future.” This track also lays the groundwork for the concrete paving industry to assume more responsibility for mixture designs as State highway agencies move from method specifications to more advanced acceptance tools.

Track 1 has four subtracks:

  • Tests
  • Models
  • Specifications
  • Communication

Track 3: High-Speed Nondestructive Testing and Intelligent Construction Systems. This track will develop high-speed, nondestructive quality control systems to monitor pavement properties continuously during construction. As a result, immediate adjustments can be made to ensure the highest quality finished product that meets given performance specifications. Many problem statements in this track relate to track 1 and others.

Three subtracks have been identified:

  • Field Control
  • Nondestructive Testing Methods
  • Nondestructive Testing and Intelligent Construction Systems Evaluation Implementation

Track 4: Optimized Surface Characteristics for Safe, Quiet, and Smooth Concrete Pavements. This track will improve understanding of concrete pavement surface characteristics. Results will provide tools to help engineers meet or exceed predetermined requirements for friction/safety, tire–pavement noise, smoothness, splash and spray, wheel path wear (hydroplaning), light reflection, rolling resistance, and durability. While each of these functional elements of a pavement is critical, the challenge is to improve one characteristic without compromising another, especially when safety is an issue.

Track 4 has the following subtracks:

  • Innovative and Improved Concrete Pavement Surfaces
  • Tire–Pavement Noise
  • Concrete Pavement Texture and Friction
  • Safety and Other Concrete Pavement Surface Characteristics
  • Concrete Pavement Profile Smoothness
  • Synthesis and Integration of Concrete Pavement Surface Characteristics
  • Technology Transfer and Implementation of Concrete Pavement Surface Characteristics Research

Article prepared by Ken McGhee, CPTP Implementation Team (

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Updated: 02/20/2015

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration