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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / February/March 2000

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-RD-00-056
Date: February/March 2000

New Superpave Software Hits the Street

The long-anticipated Superpave software has arrived. The software, which made its debut at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting last month in Washington, DC, allows users to design asphalt mixes using the Superpave mix design procedures. It contains five modules:

The software is intended for use by pavement materials engineers and technicians, mix designers, asphalt paving contractors, and other asphalt paving professionals. It runs under the Windows 95/98/NT operating systems.

The new software incorporates the more than 50 changes to four Superpave mix design standards approved last year by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Materials. It also incorporates the comprehensive temperature database developed for the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) LTPPBind software, making it easier for users to select the right binder for a particular location. Other improvements include the modules for QC/QA, which allow the user to check QC/QA in the field, and simplified compaction levels recommended by the Asphalt Mix Expert Task Group and the Superpave Lead States team and adopted by the Subcommittee on Materials.

Chuck Schwartz, a member of the University of Maryland team that developed the software, notes that not only does the software make it simpler and faster to do calculations, but it allows the user to easily store, organize, and manage pavement data. The software also "ensures that mix designs conform to all the latest Superpave standards," says Schwartz. "Another big advantage from a highway agency standpoint is that its use will standardize the reporting of mixes done by different contractors."

An AASHTO Task Force, chaired by Sam Miller of the Maryland State Highway Administration, has been established to oversee the software licensing, as well as support, maintenance, and enhancement services. The software is being distributed as part of the AASHTOWare line of products. It can be purchased from the AASHTOWare Web site (www.aashtoware.org) for $350 per copy. If purchasing more than 10 copies, the price drops to $250. For those who want to test out the software before purchasing it, the Web site offers the option of downloading it for free for a 30-day trial run. The Web site also offers user support.

The original Superpave software was created under a Strategic Highway Research Program project that involved researchers from the Texas Transportation Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Deighton & Associates, University of California-Berkeley, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Florida. The DOS-based Version 1.0 was released by FHWA in 1996. The AASHTO Superpave software is an entirely new program that was developed under FHWA sponsorship by the Superpave models team based at the University of Maryland. Final changes were made in late 1999 under the guidance of National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 9-19 (Superpave Support and Performance Models Management). "It took awhile, but now we have a state-of-the-art comprehensive software program that will be beneficial to the highway industry," says contract manager Katherine Petros of FHWA.

For more information on the Superpave software, contact Kurt Johnson at AASHTO, 202-624-5821 (email: kurtj@aashto.org).

Superpave: The Road to Implementation


  • States start to receive Superpave equipment through pooled fund purchase.
  • First training courses on Superpave equipment operation conducted by the Asphalt Institute under an FHWA contract.


  • Five regional Superpave Centers open.


  • Version 1.0 of Superpave software released by FHWA.
  • One percent of hot-mix asphalt road projects are designed using the Superpave system.
  • Superpave Lead States team formed.


  • NAPA and FHWA publish Superpave Construction Guidelines.


  • Forty-one percent of hot-mix asphalt road projects are designed using the Superpave system.


  • New Superpave software released by AASHTO.
  • Majority of States have adopted Superpave binder and mixture specifications.

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