Measuring and Specifying Pavement Smoothness
Primary Topic: Surface and Other Considerations
Description: Smoothness is a measure of the level of comfort experienced by the traveling public while riding over a pavement surface. As an important indicator of pavement performance, smoothness is used interchangeably with roughness as an expression of the deviation of a surface from a true planar surface (as defined by ASTM E867) and is often cited as the most important indicator of user satisfaction. However, smoothness also imparts a number of other benefits, including improved pavement performance and service life, improved safety, and reduced fuel and vehicle maintenance cost (Smith et al. 1997; FHWA 2006; Chatti and Zaabar 2012; Van Dam et al. 2015). In recognition of the importance of pavement smoothness, many highway agencies employ specifications to control initial pavement smoothness during construction and then monitor it over time as an indicator of performance and as a trigger for maintenance or rehabilitation. The purpose of this Tech Brief is to describe the tools and techniques used to measure and express pavement smoothness.
FHWA Publication Number: FHWA-HIF-16-032
Publication Year: 2016
Document Links: PDF (file size: 2 mb)