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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Focus > June 2002 > FHWA Course Ushers in New Pavement Design Era
June 2002Publication Number: FHWA-RD-02-011

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FHWA Course Ushers in New Pavement Design Era

Meet the new approach to pavement design in Introduction to Mechanistic Design of New and Rehabilitated Pavements, a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) course now available through the National Highway Institute (NHI). The 5-day course (No. 131064) presents the theory and application of the most current mechanistic design concepts and explores the status of ongoing research and the impact it might have on the state of the practice.

The course serves as an excellent introduction to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program's 2002 Pavement Design Guide, which takes a mechanistic approach to pavement design. It is anticipated that the Guide, which is due out this month, will be adopted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Monte Symons of FHWA's Midwestern Resource Center (MRC) says, "I highly recommend the course as a prerequisite to the sometimes complex methods contained in the 2002 Pavement Design Guide." Keith Herbold of the MRC adds, "I believe this is one of the best courses that NHI has created. It has what pavement designers need to create good designs."

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate between mechanistic- and empirically-based pavement design approaches.
  • Apply the basic concepts of mechanistic pavement design to both the new design and rehabilitation of asphalt concrete and portland cement concrete pavements.
  • Describe the data required for mechanistic design, including the application of deflection data for rehabilitation design, and explain how the data is collected and analyzed.
  • Perform sensitivity analysis to determine the effects of varying input parameters on pavement design.
  • Recognize the advantages of mechanistic pavement design and how they relate to ongoing activities that are transforming the state of the practice in pavement design.

Participants will also learn the calibration procedures being used for the 2002 Guide and what will be required to calibrate the models for their local conditions.

Last December, the MRC sponsored a pilot of the course in Olympia Fields, Illinois. The pilot was a success, with most of the 22 attendees describing the course as informative and excellent preparation for using the 2002 Guide. "The course exactly relates to what we do as pavement design engineers," said Kumar Dave, a Pavement Design Engineer with the Indiana Department of Transportation (DOT). "Anyone who hasn't been introduced to mechanistic design should attend this course," commented Curtis Bleech, a Pavement Design Engineer with the Michigan DOT.

The course is designed for pavement design engineers, material engineers, and pavement management practitioners from transportation agencies, the paving industry, and design consulting firms. There is a $345 participant fee.

For more information on scheduling the course, contact Danielle Mathis-Lee at NHI, 703-235-0528 (email: For technical information on the course, contact Katherine Petros at FHWA, 202-493-3154 (email: More information is also available on the NHI Web site ( key=&num=&loc=&sta=&tit=&typ=&lev=&ava=&str=&end=&drl=).

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Updated: 02/20/2015

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