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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-053
Date: September 2005

Long-Term Plan for Concrete Pavement Research and Technology - The Concrete Pavement Road Map: Volume II, Tracks

Track 10. Concrete Pavement Performance (PP)

TRACK 10 (PP) OVERVIEW

This track addresses key elements of the pavement management and asset management systems. These systems determine whether the sum of all the work done meets the required and desired concrete pavement performance characteristics for highway agencies and users.

In the past, concrete pavement performance requirements have focused on serviceability (i.e., ride quality) and friction. However, performance indicators, such as tire-pavement noise, tire spray, hydroplane potential resulting from wheel path wear, light reflection, fuel economy, and the availability of open traffic lanes (i.e., those not closed for construction or maintenance), are now of much greater interest to highway agencies and users. Future concrete pavement designs will be expected to provide for all of these functional performance indicators to produce surfaces and structures that meet the needs of highway agencies and users.

Structural and functional pavement performance is the output from all of the design, materials, and construction processes, and thus can be predicted using mathematical and computer models that systematically analyze data to predict pavement performance.

Monitoring concrete pavement performance indicators using PMS will be crucial to highway agencies. Developing a performance feedback loop to provide continuous condition reports will allow prompt improvements to existing pavements that fall short of user needs. Continuously monitoring pavement performance will also help improve concrete pavement design procedures (particularly functional considerations related to surface characteristics), construction standards and specifications, and rehabilitation techniques.

The research in this track will determine and address the functional aspects of concrete pavement performance, particularly factors such as tire-pavement noise, friction, smoothness, and others. Research will also provide rapid concrete pavement performance feedback and consider ways to schedule surface characteristics and conditions improvements. Developing feedback loops in highway agencies’ PMS will be crucial to monitoring performance effectively and rapidly and suggesting improvements that minimize lane closures.

The following introductory material summarizes the goal and objectives for this track and the gaps and challenges for its research program. A chart is included to show an overview of the subtracks and problem statements in the track. A table of estimated costs provides the projected cost range for each problem statement, depending on the research priorities and scope determined in implementation. The problem statements, grouped into subtracks, follow.

Track Goal

The research in this track will provide the traveling public with excellent concrete pavement surface characteristics and minimal lane closures for maintenance or rehabilitation over the design life.

Track Objectives
  1. Develop ways to collect real-time data on concrete pavement conditions, including surface characteristics (e.g., friction, noise, distress, and smoothness), climate parameters (temperature and moisture), traffic loading, moisture sensors beneath the slab, and structural factors using a combination of embedded electronics, high-speed assessment equipment, traffic measurement devices, and performance prediction equations.
  2. Determine concrete pavement condition using a new generation of equipment that addresses structural support, smoothness, friction, noise, moisture beneath the slab, drainage, and other factors.
  3. Loop concrete pavement performance data back to agency maintenance, planning, traffic, design, materials, and construction units using improved management systems. This feedback will allow the required concrete pavement surface and structural improvements to be scheduled cost effectively and the pavement technology to be improved quickly.
  4. Plan and schedule concrete pavement preservation and maintenance activities based on feedback condition and performance data to minimize lane closures and congestion.
  5. Optimize the volume, type, and flow characteristics of traffic through long-lasting traffic monitoring sensors embedded in the pavement.
Research Gaps
Research Challenges
Research Track 10 (PP) Phasing

The horizontal bar chart in figure 10 shows the problem statements in this track grouped by subtrack. Because this track is unphased, no time phasing is shown.

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Figure 10. Track 10 (PP) unphased subtrack and problem statement chart.

Research Track 10 (PP) Estimated Costs

Table 49 shows the estimated costs for this research track.

Table 49. Research track 10 (PP) estimated costs.
Problem Statement Estimated Cost
Subtrack PP 1. Technologies for Determining Concrete Pavement Performance
PP 1.1. Stress-Sensing Concrete Pavements $500 k–$750 k
PP 1.2. Self-Inspecting Smart Concrete Pavements $500 k–$750 k
PP 1.3. Rolling Wheel Deflectometer for Concrete Pavements $500 k–$750 k
Subtrack PP 2. Guidelines and Protocols for Concrete Pavement Performance  
PP 2.1. Guidelines for a Supplemental Pavement Management System and Feedback Loop for Continuous Concrete Pavement Improvements $500 k–$750 k
PP 2.2. Advancements in Forensic Analysis of Concrete Pavements $500 k–$750 k
PP 2.3. Concrete Pavement Rating System for Highways $200 k–$400 k
Track 10 (PP)  
Total $2.7 M–$4.15 M
Track Organization: Subtracks and Problem Statements

Track 10 (PP) problem statements are grouped into two subtracks:

Each subtrack is introduced by a brief summary of the subtrack’s focus and a table listing the titles, estimated costs, products, and benefits of each problem statement in the subtrack. The problem statements follow.

SUBTRACK PP 1. TECHNOLOGIES FOR DETERMINING CONCRETE PAVEMENT PERFORMANCE

This subtrack will develop and evaluate new technologies for determining concrete pavement performance. Table 50 provides an overview of this subtrack.

Table 50. Subtrack PP 1 overview.
Problem Statement Estimated Cost Products Benefits
PP 1.1. Stress-Sensing Concrete Pavements $500 k–$750 k Evaluation of stress-sensing monitors that record actual wheel load stresses over concrete pavement life. Measurement of actual wheel load stresses over concrete pavement life.
PP 1.2. Self-Inspecting Smart Concrete Pavements $500 k-$750 k Evaluation of potential smart sensing and communicating technologies that could be integrated into the concept of selfinspecting concrete pavements. Smart and self-inspecting concrete pavements.
PP 1.3. Rolling Wheel Deflectometer for Concrete Pavements $500 k–$750 k A rolling wheel deflectometer that can be operated at various speeds and that addresses specific concrete pavement technology issues. Assessment of pavement condition using a rolling wheel deflectometer at operating speed.
Problem Statement PP 1.1. Stress-Sensing Concrete Pavements
Track: 10. Concrete Pavement Performance
Subtrack: PP 1. Technologies for Determining Concrete Pavement Performance
Approximate Phasing: N/A
Estimated Cost: $500 k–$750 k

When concrete pavements are designed, fatigue damage is anticipated by estimating the total number of all weights and types of axle loads that the pavement will experience over its lifetime. Because weigh-inmotion (WIM) sites often are unavailable, however, fully measuring the number and weight of axle loads that the pavement actually experiences over its lifetime is nearly impossible. Overweight trucks are known to damage a pavement more significantly than trucks with legal axle weights, but special permit trucks with heavier than legal weights are allowed to use the pavement.

This problem statement will investigate the viability of stress-sensing pavements that can measure and log wheel load stresses over the pavement life. Stress can be measured indirectly through instantaneous strain or deflection under a wheel load. Pavement stresses from environmental loading also can be measured. This stress-sensing technology can lead to smart pavements that predict remaining pavement life or time until rehabilitation. The technology also will provide better information to pavement designers about when and how to design a rehabilitation alternative.

Tasks:
  1. Identify sensors that can be used for stress-sensing pavement. These sensors will operate by measuring strain, pressure, deflection, or other factors.
  2. Conduct small-scale laboratory or field tests to determine the reliability, durability, and economics of these sensors.
  3. Develop methods for remotely monitoring these sensors.
  4. Incorporate sensors into a pilot project and evaluate sensor performance.
  5. Develop recommendations and/or specifications for large-scale deployment of this technology on new paving projects.
Benefits: Measurement of actual wheel load stresses over concrete pavement life.
Products: Evaluation of stress-sensing monitors that record actual wheel load stresses over concrete pavement life.
Implementation: This research will provide the groundwork for additional research into other sensing and self-inspecting concepts, such as that in problem statement PP 1.2 (Self-Inspecting Smart Concrete Pavements).
Problem Statement PP 1.2. Self-Inspecting Smart Concrete Pavements
Track: 10. Concrete Pavement Performance
Subtrack: PP 1. Technologies for Determining Concrete Pavement Performance
Approximate Phasing: N/A
Estimated Cost: $500 k–$750 k
This problem statement will investigate the viability of a pavement that is capable of continuously and remotely monitoring key behaviors that ultimately can be tied to structural or functional degradation. For example, embedded sensors can be used to monitor load (stresses or strains), compressive stress buildup over time (blowups), climatic changes (temperature and moisture), and deflections (joint LTE, joint faulting, corner deflection). This smart pavement concept will benefit the industry in a number of ways. For example, critical events such as an overloaded vehicle or a climatic anomaly can be detected. Potential blowups can be detected long before the probability of one is significant, so that action can be taken to relieve the pressure. In addition, the collected data can help improve concrete pavement design, construction, and maintenance continuously and establish more rational performance standards for concrete paving.
Tasks:
  1. Identify sensors that can monitor pavement performance or key variables that affect pavement performance.
  2. Determine the effect of these key variables on pavement performance and the threshold values for these variables.
  3. Conduct laboratory or small-scale field tests to determine the reliability, durability, and economics of these sensors, using accelerated load testing to accelerated pavement distress.
  4. Develop recommendations and/or specifications for deploying this technology on new paving projects.
Benefits: Smart and self-inspecting concrete pavements.
Products: Evaluation of potential smart sensing and communicating technologies that could be integrated into the concept of self-inspecting concrete pavements.
Implementation: This research may require a preceding investigation of available sensors (see problem statement PP 1.1 (Stress-Sensing Concrete Pavements)), which may in turn lead to more long-range research efforts.
Problem Statement PP 1.3. Rolling Wheel Deflectometer for Concrete Pavements
Track: 10. Concrete Pavement Performance
Subtrack: PP 1. Technologies for Determining Concrete Pavement Performance
Approximate Phasing: N/A
Estimated Cost: $500 k–$750 k

Operating speed deflection testing equipment that determines deflections in concrete pavements is missing from today’s pavement condition assessments. Systemwide deflection data are the missing component of a network analysis method that requires IRI, distress survey, climatic, and traffic data to understand pavement performance fully and evaluate pavement rehabilitation strategies adequately. The currently used falling weight deflectometer (FWD) test can perform individual test setups, but gaining access to busy roadways during the peak measurement times is becoming increasingly difficult. FHWA is developing a rolling deflectometer based on laser technology, but has yet to prove the concept sufficiently for concrete pavements. The rolling dynamic deflectometer at the University of Texas has produced excellent data, but is only a prototype and moves at 2.4 km/h (1.5 mi/h). This research will evaluate prototype defection equipment at various operating speed capabilities.

Tasks:
  1. Conduct a full literature search of current deflection equipment, sorting by speed of operation.
  2. Evaluate the potential for the FHWA rolling deflectometer device to produce data for concrete pavements.
  3. Determine other suitable deflection techniques rated by operating speed.
  4. Determine the best deflection technique for further development and evaluation.
  5. Determine ways to produce repeatable results from this deflection equipment, connect them back to FWD measurements, and develop procedures that could be used to determine remaining pavement life.
  6. Develop a long-term implementation strategy for promising deflection prototype devices.
Benefits: Assessment of pavement condition using a rolling wheel deflectometer at operating speed.
Products: A rolling wheel deflectometer that can be operated at various speeds and that addresses specific concrete pavement technology issues.
Implementation: This work will result in a long-term implementation strategy for promising deflection prototype devices. While this technology should operate at typical highway speeds, devices that operate at lower speeds will be evaluated due to the unique concrete pavement response issues.

SUBTRACK PP 2. GUIDELINES AND PROTOCOLS FOR CONCRETE PAVEMENT PERFORMANCE

This subtrack will develop guidelines for a supplemental PMS, forensic analysis manual, and high-speed highway concrete pavement rating system for optimized concrete pavement performance. Table 51 provides an overview of this subtrack.

Table 51. Subtrack PP 2 overview.
Problem Statement Estimated Cost Products Benefits
PP 2.1. Guidelines for a Supplemental Pavement Management System and Feedback Loop for Continuous Concrete Pavement Improvements $500 k–$750 k Guidelines for developing a supplemental PMS that includes design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation data in a format conducive to engineering decisionmaking. PMS that provide sufficient information for improving design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation; guidelines that produce information sufficient for key engineering decisions.
PP 2.2. Advancements in Forensic Analysis of Concrete Pavements $500 k–$750 k A state-of-the-art forensic study manual. Forensic analysis that could be tied with the determination of remaining life to develop criteria for selecting appropriate rehabilitation and pavement strengthening actions to extend the existing pavement performance life.
PP 2.3. Concrete Pavement Rating System for Highways $200–$400 k Guidelines for State highway agencies to improve their pavement rating systems; implementation documents to be used directly by highway agencies to make use of high-speed highway pavement rating procedures. A more accurate and efficient highspeed highway pavement rating system for use by State highway agencies.
Problem Statement PP 2.1. Guidelines for a Supplemental Pavement Management System and Feedback Loop for Continuous Concrete Pavement Improvements
Track: 10. Concrete Pavement Performance
Subtrack: PP 2. Guidelines and Protocols for Concrete Pavement Performance
Approximate Phasing: N/A
Estimated Cost: $500 k–$750 k
Current highway agency PMS are used primarily for programming highway rehabilitation activities. However, with few exceptions, they cannot provide sufficient information for improving the engineering aspects of design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation. The key reason is that many of these systems cannot link various types of information (e.g., design, construction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and traffic) on specific segments of the current highway network to each other. Another reason is that insufficient data are being collected. These deficiencies make it very difficult to use the system to assess problems, enhance designs, improve material and construction specifications, or optimize rehabilitation and life cycle costing.

This research will develop guidelines for a supplement to a PMS that includes concrete pavement design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation data in a format conducive to engineering decisionmaking. NCHRP 1–19 developed a system for concrete pavements in the 1980s that could serve as a starting point for this work.(5) In addition, recent FHWA research into the use of PMS data for engineering decisions should be reviewed fully, including an existing NHI course on the engineering uses of PMS data.
Tasks:
  1. Review State highway agency PMS to determine which might improve engineering decisionmaking capabilities. For example, the Illinois PMS for pavements and materials was developed specifically for this purpose.
  2. Review previous research studies (e.g., NCHRP 1–19, FHWA, Illinois and Arizona PMS development, and NHI courses) that address the use of PMS data for engineering decisionmaking.
  3. Develop guidelines that State highway agencies can use to improve their PMS so that they can be used to make key engineering decisions.
  4. Prepare implementation documents that highway agencies can use to assess their PMS and to extend them to help engineering decisions improve design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation.
Benefits: PMS that provide sufficient information for improving design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation; guidelines that produce information sufficient for key engineering decisions.
Products: Guidelines for developing a supplemental PMS that includes design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation data in a format conducive to engineering decisionmaking.
Implementation: This research will produce implementation documents that highway agencies can use to assess their PMS and make better design, construction, materials, and rehabilitation engineering decisions.
Problem Statement PP 2.2. Advancements in Forensic Analysis of Concrete Pavements
Track: 10. Concrete Pavement Performance
Subtrack: PP 2. Guidelines and Protocols for Concrete Pavement Performance
Approximate Phasing: N/A
Estimated Cost: $500 k–$750 k
Many highway departments must evaluate inservice pavements and determine the reasons for good, marginal, or poor pavement performance. Often, a clear understanding of the all the elements of design, materials, construction, and inservice data is necessary to determine precisely what occurred or caused some action. In the past several years, the concrete paving industry has examined many pavements to determine the specific causes of a distress and have spent large amounts of time and money pulling together data. This problem statement will create a structure to examining pavements and develop a better way to determine remaining pavement life.
Tasks:
  1. Conduct a literature review of projects that have undergone significant inservice evaluations to identify the key methods used to obtain and test samples of the pavements.
  2. Identify the key forensic tests that could help identify various problems, focusing on durability, loss of smoothness, surface texture changes, and joint deterioration.
  3. Develop a statistically based method to conduct a forensic study that will determine the probability that a distress was caused by a specific series of actions.
  4. Develop a forensic study manual that includes the visual distress survey techniques, suggested tests, the sampling and testing of such samples, and the most likely cause of certain visual distresses based on these tests.
  5. Conduct a literature search for the current methods to determine remaining structural and surface characteristic life for concrete pavements, including concrete overlay sections.
  6. Identify ways to calculate remaining life based on current design methodologies, including the new Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide. Include the field tests, sample size, and reliability.
  7. Develop a forensic study manual that includes methods to determine the structural and surface characteristic life for concrete pavements and ways to calculate remaining life based on current design methodologies.
  8. Develop an integrated forensic study manual that considers both manuals (from tasks 4 and 7) and that can be used to produce an overall pavement condition status report with remaining life.
Benefits: Forensic analysis that could be tied with the determination of remaining life to develop criteria for selecting appropriate rehabilitation and pavement strengthening actions to extend the existing pavement performance life.
Products: A state-of-the-art forensic study manual.
Implementation: This research may be divided into separate contracts for tasks 1–4, 5–7, and 8. The research results will be implemented through technology transfer of the forensic study manual.
Problem Statement PP 2.3. Concrete Pavement Rating System for Highways
Track: 10. Concrete Pavement Performance
Subtrack: PP 2. Guidelines and Protocols for Concrete Pavement Performance
Approximate Phasing: N/A
Estimated Cost: $200 k–$400 k
State highway agencies use many procedures to rate their pavements for management and engineering purposes. These vary widely from State to State. This research will develop guidelines for State highway agencies to improve their pavement rating systems.

The pavement condition index (PCI) procedure was developed in the 1970s and 1980s for airport pavements and city street pavements. The main scope of the PCI was to provide a simple yet consistent tool for rating pavements that would reflect the experience of many experienced engineers. The rating scale, from 0 to 100, was divided into categories such as excellent, very good, good, fair, poor, and very poor. This procedure found wide use and acceptance by the U.S. military, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and some cities. Its main advantage is that it provides a simple, consistent, and uniform way to rate pavements with an overall score, but also includes individual distresses to determine the causes of deterioration, making it possible to better recommend rehabilitation treatments. In the 1980s, FHWA sponsored research to adapt the PCI to high-speed highways, and an initial procedure was completed. This initial work needs further consideration regarding its value today for State highway agencies as a consistent rating procedure.
Tasks:
  1. Review State highway agency PMS and summarize their procedures to rate highway pavements. Compare the State highway rating systems with the PCI procedures used by the USACE, FAA, and APWA.
  2. Assess whether the PCI procedure, appropriately modified as necessary to handle high-speed highways, would be useful to State highway agencies and FHWA in providing a uniform and consistent rating procedure.
  3. If feasible, develop guidelines for all types of concrete pavements for use by State highway agencies to improve their pavement rating systems.
  4. Prepare implementation documents for highway agencies to make use of the PCI procedures for highspeed highways.
Benefits: A more accurate and efficient high-speed highway pavement rating system for use by State highway agencies.
Products: Guidelines for State highway agencies to improve their pavement rating systems; implementation documents to be used directly by highway agencies to make use of high-speed highway pavement rating procedures.
Implementation: This work will result in implementation documents to be used directly by highway agencies to use the PCI procedures for high-speed highways.

 

 


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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