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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-12-023
Date: December 2012

 

Simplified Techniques for Evaluation and Interpretation of Pavement Deflections for Network-Level Analysis

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FOREWORD

The objective of this study was to develop an approach for incorporating techniques used to interpret and evaluate deflection data for network-level pavement management system (PMS) applications. The first part of this research focused on identifying and evaluating existing techniques by seeking out those that were simple, reliable, and easy to incorporate into current PMS practices, as well as those that produced consistent results. The second part of the research detailed the development of guidelines for the application of recommended techniques, along with procedures for determining optimum falling weight deflectometer (FWD) test spacing and data collection frequency. While there are many viable techniques available for evaluating the structural capacity of pavements that use FWD for project-level analysis, many of these techniques are time consuming and require an experienced analyst. As a result, using pavement deflection testing for network-level analysis has been limited to date. The findings presented in this report suggest that it is possible and, in fact, advantageous to define simplified techniques for the evaluation and interpretation of pavement deflections for network-level analysis.

Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

FOREWORD

Effectively managing pavement infrastructure assets requires not only knowledge of the pavement condition indicators that can be seen (e.g., cracking or rutting) or felt (e.g., roughness), but also knowledge of the pavement’s structural capacity. Increased use of structural capacity information with agency-wide coverage has the potential to enhance decision making and enable a more efficient and effective preservation and rehabilitation program. The falling weight deflectometer (FWD) has long been used to determine the structural characteristics of the pavement structure. While there are many viable techniques for evaluating the structural capacity of pavements using FWD data for project-level analysis, many of these techniques are time consuming and require an experienced analyst. As a result, using pavement deflection testing for network-level analysis has been limited to date. In order to solve this problem, the Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program conducted a study to develop techniques that could be used to interpret and evaluate deflection data for network-level pavement management system (PMS) applications. Information and data from the LTPP program provide a consistent, high quality data set that covers the entire United States, has been collected in a consistent manner over a long time period, and includes a variety of pavement structures. The first part of this research focused on identifying and evaluating existing techniques for interpreting pavement deflections with an emphasis on those that are simple, reliable, and easy to incorporate into current PMS practices. The second part of the research detailed the development of guidelines for the application of recommended techniques, along with procedures for determining optimum FWD test spacing and data collection frequency. The findings presented in this report suggest that it is possible and advantageous to define simplified techniques for the evaluation and interpretation of pavement deflections for network-level analysis. This report is intended for pavement managers and pavement investment decision makers across the United States.

Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality

 

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-12-023

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Simplified Techniques for Evaluation and Interpretation of Pavement
Deflections for Network-Level Analysis

5. Report Date

December 2012

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

R. Carvalho, R. Stubstad, R. Briggs, O. Selezneva, E. Mustafa, and A. Ramachandran

8. Performing Organization Report No.

 

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Applied Research Associates, Inc.
7184 Troy Hill Drive, Suite N
Elkridge, MD 21075-7056

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-02-C-00138

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Federal Highway Administrationr
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

 

15. Supplementary Notes

The Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) was Larry Wiser, HRDI-30.

16. Abstract

The objective of this study was to develop an approach for incorporating techniques used to interpret and evaluate deflection data for network-level pavement management system (PMS) applications. The first part of this research focused on identifying and evaluating existing techniques by seeking out those that were simple, reliable, and easy to incorporate into current PMS practices, as well as those that produced consistent results. The second part of the research detailed the development of guidelines for the application of recommended techniques, along with procedures for determining optimum falling weight deflectometer (FWD) test spacing and data collection frequency. While there are many viable techniques available for evaluating the structural capacity of pavements that use FWD for project-level analysis, many of these techniques are time consuming and require an experienced analyst. As a result, using pavement deflection testing for network-level analysis has been limited to date. The findings presented in this report suggest that it is possible and, in fact, advantageous to define simplified techniques for the evaluation and interpretation of pavement deflections for network-level analysis.

17. Key Words

Pavement performance, Rehabilitation, Maintenance, Pavement design, Long-term performance, Flexible pavements, Rigid pavements

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages

198

22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

ADDITIONAL CONTENT OR TABLE OF CONTENTS IF REQUIRED

SI* (MODERN METRIC) CONVERSION FACTORS

Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION

Chapter 2. LITERATURE REVIEW

Chapter 3. ASSESSMENT OF DATA

CHAPTER 4 EVALUATION OF APPLICABLE LOAD DEFLECTION TECHNIQUES

CHAPTER 5 - PROCEDURES FOR OPTIMUM DEFLECTION TEST SPACINGS AND FREQUENCY FOR PMS APPLICATIONS

CHAPTER 6-GUIDELINES FOR CONSIDERATION OF TIME OF DAY AND SEASON OF YEAR FOR OPTIMAL FWD DATA COLLECTION FOR PMS APPLICATIONS

CHAPTER 7-PRACTICAL EXAMPLE

CHAPTER 8-CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

APPENDIX C

APPENDIX D

APPENDIX E

APPENDIX F

REFERENCES

List of Figures

Tables

 


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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