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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-12-035
Date: November 2012

 

Relating Ride Quality and Structural Adequacy for Pavement Rehabilitation/Design Decisions

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FOREWORD

Ride quality and structural adequacy are key pavement performance indicators. The relationship between the two has been a topic of frequent and continuing discussion in the pavement community, but an accepted and widely used relationship has not been identified to date. This report presents the results of a study undertaken to identify and verify the relationship, if any, between the two performance indicators using the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program and other pavement performance data sources. The study was performed in an effort to improve the evaluation and use of pavement condition data in pavement rehabilitation and design decisions. More specifically, the project was intended to develop and document a mechanism to include both ride quality and structural adequacy values within the context of current network-level pavement management systems for highway agency implementation to ensure smooth, structurally adequate pavements. To accomplish the objective, two major activities were carried out: (1) a literature search to gather, review, and synthesize available information on relating ride quality and structural adequacy and (2) a review and assessment of data from the LTPP program to determine if such a relationship exists. This report details those two activities and their major findings, observations, and conclusions.

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

As the highway community transitions to a performance-based approach to managing investments in pavement infrastructure, it is vitally important that potential performance measures and inter-relationships among performance measures be thoroughly examined to assess their applicability to the challenges of managing for performance. Ride quality and structural adequacy are two key pavement performance indicators. The relationship (or lack of relationship) between the two has been a topic of frequent and continuing discussion in the pavement community for many years. Data collected through the Federal Highway Administration’s Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program has created an unprecedented opportunity to examine whether there is, in fact, a meaningful and consistent relationship between ride quality and structural adequacy, and to model that relationship if it exists. There would be substantial economic and engineering benefits to the pavement engineering community if such a relationship could be identified and definitively modeled. Likewise, if no such relationship exists, the pavement engineering community could focus on proper modeling of each of the individual indicators separately in order to improve network level decision making. This study was intended to develop and document a mechanism to include both ride quality and structural adequacy values within the context of current network-level pavement management systems for highway agency implementation to ensure smooth, structurally adequate pavements. To accomplish the objective, two major activities were carried out: (1) a literature search to gather, review, and synthesize available information on relating ride quality and structural adequacy and (2) a review and assessment of data from the LTPP program to determine if such a relationship exists. LTPP data was chosen for its quality, comprehensive coverage, and robust suite of supporting information necessary to conduct a national study. This report details the study methodology and findings including presentation of a conclusion to the question – are ride and structural adequacy related?

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.

 

 

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-12-035

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

Relating Ride Quality and Structural Adequacy for Pavement Rehabilitation/Design Decisions

5. Report Date

November 2012

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Rada, G.R., Ph.D., P.E., Perera, R., Ph.D., P.E., and Prabhakar, V., P.E.

8. Performing Organization Report No.

 

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Fugro Consultants, Inc.
8613 Cross Park Drive.
Austin, TX 78754

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-08-D-00021-T-11001

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

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

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report, December 2010–December 2011

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HRDI-30

15. Supplementary Notes

The task order manager was Larry Wiser. The Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) was Nadarajah Sivaneswaran (HRDI-30), the Contract Officer was Robin K. Hobbs, and the Contract Specialist was Sean Wybenga. The task order contractor was Fugro Consultants, Inc., with subcontractors Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. and Woodward Communications, Inc.

16. Abstract

Ride quality and structural adequacy are key pavement performance indicators. The relationship between these two indicators has been a topic of frequent and continuing discussion in the pavement community, but an accepted and widely used relationship has not been identified to date. The objective of this project was to identify and verify the relationship between these two performance indicators, if any, using the Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program and other pavement performance data sources. This was done in an effort to improve the evaluation and use of pavement condition data in pavement rehabilitation and design decisions. More specifically, the project was intended to develop and document a mechanism to include both ride quality and structural adequacy values within the context of current network-level pavement management system practices for highway agency implementation to ensure smooth pavements that are also structurally adequate. Toward the accomplishment of the project objective, two major activities were carried out: (1) a literature search to gather, review, and synthesize available information on relating ride quality and structural adequacy and (2) a review and assessment of data from the LTPP program to determine if such a relationship exists. This report details those two activities as well as their major findings, observations, and conclusions. A viable relationship could not be identified.

17. Key Words

Ride quality, Structural adequacy, Structural capacity, Pavement management systems, Pavement rehabilitation, Pavement design decisions

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

179

22. Price

N/A

Form DOT F 1700.7 Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 PAVEMENT REHABILITATION AND DESIGN DECISIONS
1.2 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RIDE QUALITY AND STRUCTURAL ADEQUACY
1.3 PROJECT GOAL AND OBJECTIVE
1.4 REPORT ORGANIZATION

CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE SEARCH

2.1 OVERVIEW
2.2 SPECIFIC FINDINGS
2.3 SUMMARY

CHAPTER 3. DATA AVAILABILITY AND DATA ASSESSMENT

3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 DATA AVAILABILITY
3.3 RIDE QUALITY PARAMETER SELECTED FOR STUDY
3.4 STRUCTURAL STRENGTH PARAMETER SELECTED FOR STUDY

3.4.1 Flexible Pavements
3.4.2 Rigid Pavements

3.5 CONTINUOUS ROUGHNESS PLOT
3.6 EVALUATING CHANGES IN RIDE QUALITY AND STRUCTURAL CAPACITY OVER TIME

3.6.1 Changes in IRI
3.6.2 Changes in Structural Strength—Flexible Pavements
3.6.3 Change in Structural Strength—Rigid Pavements

3.7 METHODOLOGY FOR COMPARING RIDE QUALITY-STRUCTURAL CAPACITY RELATIONSHIP

3.7.1 Flexible Pavements
3.7.2 Rigid Pavements

3.8 TEST SECTIONS SELECTED FOR ANALYSIS

3.9 ANALYSIS OF GROUP 1 SECTIONS

3.9.1 LTPP Section 050119 (Arkansas)
3.9.2 LTPP Section 480114 (Texas)
3.9.3 LTPP Section 310113 (Nebraska)
3.9.4 LTPP Section 010102 (Alabama)
3.9.5 LTPP Section 390112 (Ohio)
3.9.6 LTPP Section 040123 (Arizona)
3.9.7 LTPP Section 190108 (Iowa)

3.10 ANALYSIS OF GROUP 2 SECTIONS

3.10.1 LTPP Section 320101 (Nevada)
3.10.2 LTPP Section 390106 (Ohio)
3.10.3 LTPP Section 310117 (Nebraska)
3.10.4 LTPP Section 310118 (Nebraska)

3.11 ANALYSIS OF GROUP 3 SECTIONS

3.11.1 LTPP Section 190101 (Iowa)
3.11.2 LTPP Section 190103 (Iowa)
3.11.3 LTPP Section 050114 (Arkansas)
3.11.4 LTPP Section 050116 (Arkansas)

3.12 ANALYSIS OF GROUP 4 SECTIONS

3.12.1 LTPP Section 040502 (Arizona)
3.12.2 LTPP Section 240505 (Maryland)
3.12.3 LTPP Section 270509 (Minnesota)

3.13 ANALYSIS OF GROUP 5 SECTIONS

3.13.1 LTPP Section 040213 (Arizona)
3.13.2 LTPP Section 050217 (Arkansas)
3.13.3 LTPP Section 390205 (Ohio)

3.14 SUMMARY

CHAPTER 4. OTHER DATA ANALYSIS CONSIDERATIONS

4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 EVALUATION OF MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR IMPACTS
4.3 REVIEW OF IRI TIME HISTORY DATA
4.4 REVIEW OF DEFLECTION TIME HISTORY DATA
4.5 ASSESSMENT OF PCC WARPING AND CURLING

4.5.1 Curling and Warping of Slabs
4.5.2 Diurnal Changes in IRI
4.5.3 Changes in IRI Over Time
4.5.4 Effect of Curling and Warping on FWD Testing
4.5.5 Effect of Roughness on Structural Capacity

4.6 SUMMARY

CHAPTER 5. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

APPENDIX A. DEFLECTION BELOW CENTER OF 9,000-LB LOAD AND SUBGRADE MODULUS PLOTS

A.1 GROUP 1 SECTIONS

A.1.1 Section 050119 (Arkansas)
A.1.2 Section 480114 (Texas)
A.1.3 Section 310113 (Nebraska)
A.1.4 Section 010102 (Alabama)
A.1.5 Section 390112 (Ohio)
A.1.6 Section 040123 (Arizona)
A.1.7 Section 190108 (Iowa)

A.2 GROUP 2 SECTIONS

A.2.1 Section 320101 (Nevada)
A.2.2 Section 390106 (Nevada)

A.3 GROUP 3 SECTIONS

A.3.1 Section 190101 (Iowa)
A.3.2 Section 190103 (Iowa)
A.3.3 Section 050114 (Arkansas)
A.3.4 Section 050116 (Arkansas)

A.4 GROUP 4 SECTIONS

A.4.1 Section 040502 (Arizona)
A.4.2 Section 240505 (Maryland)
A.4.3 Section 270509 (Minnesota)

APPENDIX B. DEFLECTION BELOW LOAD AND AT 60 INCHES FOR A 9,000-LB LOAD

B.1 GROUP 5 SECTIONS

B.1.1 Section 040213 (Arizona)
B.1.2 Section 050217 (Arkansas)
B.1.3 Section 390205 (Ohio)

APPENDIX C. TIME SEQUENCE IRI PLOTS

C.1 GROUP 1 SECTIONS
C.2 GROUP 2 SECTIONS
C.3 GROUP 3 SECTIONS
C.4 GROUP 4 SECTIONS
C.5 GROUP 5 SECTIONS

APPENDIX D. AVERAGE NORMALIZED DEFLECTION AND MID-DEPTH SURFACE LAYER TEMPERATURE PLOTS

D.1 GROUP 1 SECTIONS
D.2 GROUP 2 SECTIONS
D.3 GROUP 3 SECTIONS
D.4 GROUP 4 SECTIONS
D.5 GROUP 5 SECTIONS

REFERENCES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF 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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