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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-08-065
Date: November 2008

Long-Term Pavement Performance Compliance With Department of Transportation Information Dissemination Quality Guidelines

CHAPTER 1. LTPP DATA SYSTEM PLANNING

The DOT IDQG indicates that the following factors should be considered for planning a data system:

Data System Objectives

In order to garner widespread support and keep relevancy over a long period of time, LTPP goals were purposely expressed in terms of general topical areas of pavement engineering needs. Although a formal assessment of the program has been performed, the objective statements still remain relevant.

The LTPP program was started as a States' initiative and implemented as part of the SHRP, operated under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, to meet a need for research quality data on long-term performance of pavements in North America. The strategic goals for the program were establish by a committee with representation from State and Provincial highway agencies, Federal agencies, and academia. These goals were endorsed by AASHTO.

Although the LTPP program did not start as a program managed by a Federal agency, its goals and objectives were congruent with those of FHWA in the early 1990s. This is why at the end of the 5-year SHRP effort in 1992, FHWA management agreed to provide management services for the remainder of this long-term effort. Although the LTPP program is not specifically addressed in the changing strategic objectives of FHWA, it has continued to be a line item in all of the highway bills passed by Congress to date. Due to the LTPP program's unique enabling role in the advancement of pavement technology, its data will be used as a tool far into the future to address future highway infrastructure engineering needs.

Highlights of LTPP's compliance with this portion of the guidelines include the following:

The objective of the LTPP data system is to provide data to engineering researchers that enable the evaluation of existing pavement design methods, the development of improved pavement design methods, and the study of the effect of relevant factors that influence pavement performance.

Data Requirements

The LTPP data requirements are based on the achievement of the program's goals and objectives. The data requirements were developed by experts in each associated engineering discipline with review and critique by other stakeholders through TRB- facilitated national meetings.

The development of measurement concepts for the LTPP program followed a scientific approach methodology. Data needs were based on existing models, theories of pavement performance, and anticipated needs of future models of pavement performance. The findings from previous studies of the performance of in-service pavements were also used.

The LTPP program relies on thousands of measurement concepts. Some of the more important measurement concepts used in the LTPP program include the following:

The LTPP data requirements are based on the concept of providing the user with baseline raw data that can be used to support a wide range of measurement concepts. This is a fundamental requirement of a research-based program. While the database contains traditional measurement concepts, data users are able to access the baseline measurement data in order to investigate their applicability for development of new measurement concepts.

Methods to Acquire Data

The methods to acquire LTPP data were developed by expert staff working in-concert with program stakeholders and other experts. The preliminary planning for the LTPP program was funded under an NCHRP-sponsored study conducted under the auspices of the LTPP TRB committee. A comprehensive process was used to examine and evaluate data acquisition methods that took into account budget, complexity, ease, and time considerations.

Due to the complexity of many LTPP data elements, an early decision in the program was to use qualified data collection contractors with experience in operation of technical data collection equipment and working with highway agencies on collection of other data. Greater resources were planned and used on the more complex data elements requiring specialty resources.

FHWA served as a cooperative partner in this work by funding an equipment evaluation project to evaluate the state of the practice and art in the critical data elements needed for the project during the preimplementation phase of the project.

Sources of Data

LTPP data sources were developed based on past experience in performing similar field studies. Findings from a research study sponsored by FHWA in the early 1980s called the Long-Term Pavement Monitoring Program(1) provided the basis for selection of data sources.

Since provision of data to the LTPP program was not a matter of public law, LTPP had to rely upon contractual data collection services, available data sources, and the good will of participating highway agencies.

The sources of data selected for the LTPP program included the following:

Data Collection Design

The LTPP data collection design was based on a wide variety of methods, as follows:

 

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices across the United States. is a major agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with field offices across the United States. is a major agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Provide leadership and technology for the delivery of long life pavements that meet our customers needs and are safe, cost effective, and can be effectively maintained. Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) R&T Web site portal, which provides access to or information about the Agency’s R&T program, projects, partnerships, publications, and results.
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