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Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-13-0018
Project Name:   Quantifying Pavement Albedo
Project Status:   Active
Start Date:  August 17, 2012
End Date:  May 16, 2016
Contact Information
Last Name:  Weaver
First Name:  Eric J
Telephone:  202-493-3153
E-mail:  eric.weaver@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:   Infrastructure Analysis and Construction Team [HRDI-20]
Program:   Innovative Pavement Research and Deployment
Project detail
Roadmap/Focus area(s):   Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:   Determine the effect of pavement albedo on urban heat island effect, as well as pavement design and how it changes with time for all pavement types. This will require a combination of analytical modeling, material characterization, and empirical measurements. Provide tools and guidance to apply these relationships to sustainability rating systems and pavement design.
(1) Quantify the rate and magnitude of albedo change by pavement type and time.
(2) Develop models to determine the relative impact of albedo on heat collection, storage, and transmission potential associated with the developed albedo rate functions by pavement type and material constituents.
(3) Determine the level of significance of the pavement albedo relationships on the outcome of at least two pavement sustainability rating tools and one pavement design procedure.
(4) Provide recommendations for use of the albedo rate function model on choosing appropriate pavement albedo inputs for pavement sustainability rating tools and pavement design tools.
Background Information:   The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed a pavement sustainability rating tool called INVEST (Infrastructure Voluntary Evaluation Sustainability Tool) for project-level evaluation. INVEST included pavement surface albedo as one input. Competing pavement industries make the case for their product based on many aspects, including albedo. The respective trade groups balked at the inclusion of albedo as an input to INVEST, citing inadequate research to base its proper use and selection. As a result, FHWA removed albedo as an input to INVEST. The Enhanced Integrated Climatic Model (EICM) used in the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) also includes albedo as an input, but provides little guidance for how to consider it properly.
Product Type:   Draft standard, specifications, or guidelines
Research report
Test Methodology:   A combination of analytical modeling, material characterization, and empirical measurements.
Expected Benefits:   Will provide a fundamental basis for selection of albedo as an input for consideration of pavement-type selection in terms of urban heat island and pavement-design considerations.
Deliverables: 1. Name: Final report.
Product Type(s): Research report
Description: Documentation of all research methods, efforts, findings, conclusions, recommendations, and products.
2. Name: Analysis Utility for Albedo
Product Type(s): Software, Draft standard, specifications, or guidelines
Description: A utility that contains the results of the thermodynamic model that includes relationships with albedo, materials, pavement structure, and time. This may be used in conjunction with pavement sustainability rating systems or pavement structural design tools.
FHWA Topics:   Environment--Climate Change
TRT Terms:   Pavements
Pavement design
Measuring methods
FHWA Disciplines:   Environment
Pavement and Materials
Subject Areas:   Environment


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