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Advanced Concrete Pavement Technology (ACPT) Program-ACPT Products Marketing Plan

Chapter 1-Introduction

Introduction

Long-lasting pavements that are safer, smoother, environmentally sensitive, and can be cost-effectively constructed and maintained are an important part of the U.S. transportation system. In the United States, billions of dollars are spent every year to construct, maintain, preserve, and rehabilitate the Nation's highway pavement infrastructure. The accumulated investment in our roadway pavements is in the trillions of dollars, and this investment needs to be protected and managed efficiently so that future generations of our citizens can continue to enjoy the benefits of one of the best highway systems in the world.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), as part of its congressionally mandated role to improve mobility on our Nation's highways through national leadership, innovation, and program delivery, has been actively involved in improving technologies related to all types of pavements that are used on the federally funded National Highway System. FHWA currently conducts its Pavement Technology Program as authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Within the program, FHWA's Innovative Pavement Research and Deployment (IPRD) Program accounts for a significant portion of SAFETEA-LU funds; and the deployment, delivery, and implementation of advanced concrete pavement technology (ACPT) products are key elements of FHWA's IPRD program efforts to improve the long-term performance of portland cement concrete (PCC) pavements. It is expected that the ACPT products will help us move forward in our quest to provide safer, smoother, sustainable, environmentally sensitive, and longer lasting concrete pavements.

The ACPT Program Status Report on Available Products (Tayabji et al. 2009) documented the availability of ACPT products that show a high potential for improving the performance of concrete pavements through improved design, material selection, construction practices, testing procedures, and repair and rehabilitation techniques. These technologies also include concrete overlays for rehabilitation of existing concrete and asphalt pavements. The ACPT products available for technology transfer, as documented in the Status Report, are the result of current or recent research and development projects with one or more sponsors, either domestic or international. The identified promising ACPT products are varied and cover a broad range of applications, as categorized by focus area. As such, the marketing of ACPT products is expected to be a challenging endeavor but one that is critical to ensuring the eventual implementation of many of the products.

This report presents a marketing plan to support the technology transfer and deployment of promising ACPT products. Most of the identified ACPT products have not been exposed to U.S. stakeholders or perhaps have only been exposed to a limited segment of the stakeholders during local and regional demonstrations or experimental projects. As indicated in the ACPT Products Status Report and detailed in this Marketing Plan, the identified candidate ACPT products have the potential to significantly change how concrete pavements are designed, constructed, and managed in the United States so as to provide safer, smoother, quieter concrete pavements that are durable and cost effective over the life cycle. In addition, the selection of promising ACPT products recognizes the recent emergence of sustainability as a critical area to be addressed as we move forward with implementation of technologies related to advanced concrete pavements. Sustainability-related considerations will be a major driving force in future decision-making processes dealing with transportation and highway infrastructure. The ACPT marketing plan addresses sustainable technologies for concrete pavements to ensure that future generations of stakeholders continue to benefit from decisions we make today regarding advancements in concrete pavement technology.

Finally, it is well known that the highway construction industry (both owner agencies and contractors) are typically very cautious about implementing new technologies that may affect the day-to-day operation of the highway facilities (TRB 1999). Many decision makers require evidence of successful implementation elsewhere before initiating implementation activities at their organizations. The proposed marketing plan has been developed to address that limitation.

ACPT Products Background

Since the early days of Interstate highway construction in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there have been significant developments in various aspects of concrete pavement technology. During the Interstate highway construction era, concrete pavements were designed to provide a low-maintenance service life of about 20 years, whereas now most U.S. highway agencies are considering design-life requirements of 40 to 50 years. Although much progress has been made in the last few decades to improve the performance of concrete pavements and to reduce overall life cycle costs, many challenges remain, and new challenges continue to emerge. These challenges require a strong commitment to providing a vigorous research and development program and a strong technology transfer program to improve concrete pavement technology. Some of the challenges are listed below:

  1. Constrained agency budgets.
  2. Optimizing various design features to address local needs related to material availability, environment, site conditions, and future traffic.
  3. Urban area traffic volumes and restrictions on construction zones.
  4. Pavement noise considerations.
  5. User demands for a safe and smooth ride.
  6. Sound understanding of factors that affect concrete pavement behavior.
  7. Development of durable concrete mixtures.
  8. Need for rapid repair and rehabilitation to minimize lane closures.
  9. Environmental effects on short-term and long-term performance.
  10. Sustainability considerations.

FHWA has traditionally been committed to maintaining and funding a strong research and development program to improve concrete pavement performance. Currently, three major programs exist that are focused on supporting advancements in concrete pavement technologies:

  1. Concrete Pavement Technology Program (CPTP).
  2. Concrete Pavement (CP) Road Map and related activities.
  3. Advanced Concrete Pavement Technology (ACPT) Products Program.

The CPTP, initiated in 2001 and targeted for completion in 2009, is a national program of research, development, and technology transfer that has operated within the Office of Pavement Technology of FHWA. The focus of the program has been on implementing improved methods of designing, constructing, evaluating, and rehabilitating PCC pavements to promote cost-effective designs and long-term performance for Federal-aid highways. The CPTP initiative has encompassed a broad range of projects, ranging from materials research to field testing of new technologies, from the development of computer programs to the implementation of technology transfer activities. For purposes of categorization, CPTP activities were divided into six focus areas relating to various aspects of concrete pavements (Tayabji and Smith 2004). More than 30 projects, referred to as tasks, were included in these focus areas. The CPTP effort will be ending in late 2009.

The CP Road Map is a 10-year innovative, strategic plan (developed during 2005) that outlines approximately $250 million in needed concrete pavement research. The CP Road Map's official title is the Long-Term Plan for Concrete Pavement Research and Technology. Developed under FHWA's CPTP Task 15 and currently administered by the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center, based at Iowa State University in Ames, the CP Road Map combines more than 250 problem statements into 13 integrated research tracks. The CP Road Map projects are funded under a cooperative agreement with FHWA or are undertaken by highway agencies, academia, or industry. Several CP Road Map research tracks are in progress at this time.

FHWA initiated the ACPT Program in late 2008 to capture the best advanced technologies available or soon to be available for concrete pavements and to deliver these technologies to highway agencies and the highway construction industry. Building upon the successes of past concrete pavement technology programs, the ACPT program has tremendous potential to deliver implementable products that pavement engineers and managers can apply to designing and constructing more cost-effective, longer lasting, and environmentally sensitive concrete pavements, and to rehabilitating concrete pavements more effectively by adhering to the philosophy of "Get in as soon as possible; do it right; get out as quickly as possible; and stay out as long as possible."

The ACPT program is expected to build upon the progress made in the CPTP and the findings from the various projects carried out under the CP Road Map as well as many other projects funded by organizations in the United States and abroad. The ACPT Program will help to bridge the gap between current practices and the level of service that users expect pavements and highways to provide.

The ACPT Status Report includes a list of the most promising ACPT products that have already been developed or will be developed within the next 3 to 5 years. The products are categorized in accordance with the following ACPT focus areas:

  • Focus Area 1: Advanced Designs-Investigating ways to improve or advance pavement structural designs and optimizing use of cost-effective design features.
  • Focus Area 2: Improved Construction Materials-Investigating ways to improve or advance concrete material selection processes and concrete mix design procedures to result in durable concrete paving mixes that can be placed and finished effectively for slipform operations.
  • Focus Area 3: Improved Construction Processes-Investigating the use of new or innovative equipment and technologies for improving all aspects of concrete pavement construction.
  • Focus Area 4: Rapid Repair and Rehabilitation-Investigating ways to improve or advance concrete pavement rehabilitation technologies that will allow for faster and more durable repair and rehabilitation/reconstruction of concrete pavements.
  • Focus Area 5: Sustainable Concrete Pavements-Exploring ways to extend the service life of existing and new concrete pavements, re-use and recycle construction materials, and adopt processes that reduce the carbon footprint. Sustainability is a term used to describe the broad notion that we, as a society, should be able to meet our present day needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In pavement engineering, the goal is to make pavement systems, materials, products and processes more sustainable.
  • Focus Area 6: Enhanced User Satisfaction-Increasing user satisfaction, which includes reducing congestion and improving functional performance (ride, safety, noise).

Summary

Advances continue to be made in concrete pavement technologies. A large number of promising advanced technologies have been identified, and these technologies are referred to as ACPT products. The ACPT products are in different stages of readiness:

  1. Some still under development, but expected to be available within the next 5 years.
  2. Some developed, but not tested.
  3. Some developed and tested, but not implemented.
  4. Some implemented at the local level, but not nationally.
  5. Some needing minor refinements.

The promising technologies to be implemented under the ACPT Program will support the goals of FHWA and highway agencies for effective and responsible management of the Nation's highway pavement infrastructure.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration