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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > July 2001 > New Standard Has States Speaking the Same Language on Pavement Cracking
July 2001Publication Number: FHWA-RD-01-065

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New Standard Has States Speaking the Same Language on Pavement Cracking

The recent introduction of a new American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) provisional standard on pavement cracking measurement has, for the first time, given States a shared system for measuring this type of pavement distress. "Twenty years ago, States started to routinely monitor pavement condition. However, as each State developed their own pavement management system, we wound up with 50 different ways to measure pavement distress," says Frank Botelho of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Complicating matters further, as pavement measurements became automated, manufacturers and vendors had to design and retest equipment separately for each State. This adds time to the process and increases the cost of doing business.

Ten years ago, AASHTO and FHWA set out to develop standards for the four most common pavement distress measurements used by State highway agencies for network level pavement management. First on the list were standards for measuring ride, rutting, and faulting, which were voted on and accepted by States in 1999. The pavement cracking measurement standard was voted on and accepted in 2000 and now joins these standards. Still to come are needed procedures for testing and certifying automated equipment and for providing quality control/quality assurance. "Having these three standards for measuring distress, certifying equipment, and performing quality control/quality assurance in place will give highway agencies maximum assurance that they are collecting good quality data," says Botelho.

"The new standard allows States to speak the same language," says Ken Fults of the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) and chair of a special committee formed by the AASHTO Joint Task Force on Pavements to work on the standards. "I can now call up Georgia, for example, and easily exchange data with them. It will also help vendors in developing equipment, ultimately leading to lower prices for States."

The standard, entitled "Standard Practice for Quantifying Cracks in Asphalt Pavement Surface" (No. PP 44-01), was published in AASHTO Provisional Standards, April 2001 Interim Edition (Publication No. HM-20-COM). The publication can be ordered from AASHTO at 1-800-231-3475 (email: aashto@abcgroup.com; Web: www.transportation.org). For more information, contact Frank Botelho at FHWA, 202-366-1336 (fax: 202-366-9981; email: frank.botelho@fhwa.dot.gov), or Ken Fults at Texas DOT, 512-465-7741 (email: kfults@dot.state.tx.us).

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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