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Date: March 1999
Looking to influence the pavement design and maintenance strategies of the future? It's not too late to enter the long-term pavement performance (LTPP) program's DataPave contest. Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), this contest for college students involves using data from the LTPP studies. Contestants are provided with the DataPave software, which contains information on traffic materials, performance, environment, and other variables at the more than 2,400 LTPP test sections on in-service highways and roads across the United States. Students determine a research objective, conduct the research, and analyze the data. The findings are then submitted in the form of a paper for evaluation.
Some of the many possible research topics include the effects of traffic, environment, and materials on pavement performance; traffic load characteristics statistical analysis; and the identification of distresses related to pavement performance. Students can enter the contest on their own or, in a separate category, in conjunction with an industry or State department of transportation partner. There is also a contest category for professors to submit a course curriculum developed using the LTPP data.
"Seventy-five people have expressed interest in the contest so far, with 16 of those international participants," says FHWA's Kurt Dunn. Participants are allowed to form teams of up to three people. The deadline to submit papers is June 1.
Papers will be judged by representatives of FHWA, ASCE, the Transportation Research Board (TRB), industry, and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. First, second, and third place winners in each category will be selected for five regional zones (Northeast, East, Midwest, West, and International). In addition, there will be a grand prize of a scholarship in the student categories for the top paper from all five zones. Winners will be notified by September 1. They then will be recognized and receive their awards at the ASCE annual meeting in October. Contest organizers also hope to present the winning papers at next year's TRB annual meeting.
A second contest will run from August 1999 until June 2000. Based on the response to the first two contests, ASCE may then make it an annual event.
For more information about the contest, contact Michael Hewitt at ASCE, 703-295-6115 (fax: 703-295-6132; email: firstname.lastname@example.org), or Kurt Dunn at FHWA, 816-276-2734 (fax: 816-363-3347; email: email@example.com).
Information about the contest, including a registration form, can also be found at the DataPave Web site (datapave.fhwa.dot.gov).
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