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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / March 2011

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-011
Date: March 2011
Printable Version (.pdf, 1 mb)

Pavement Management Roadmap: A Roadmap to Preserving Our Pavement Investments

With greater demands being placed on today's roadway networks, coupled with reduced funding levels at transportation agencies across the country, what will the next 10 years mean for your agency's pavement investments? The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) new Pavement Management Roadmap (Pub. No. FHWA-HIF-11-011) looks at the long-term vision for pavement management and the research, development, and technology transfer initiatives that are needed to help agencies realize that vision and preserve their valuable investments.

Figure 1. Photo. Graphic of cover of FHWA's Pavement Management Roadmap.

Over the past decade, the transportation community has witnessed an increased emphasis on the use of asset management principles to better allocate resources and make decisions based on system performance objectives. Asset management provides a coordinated approach to managing infrastructure assets over the course of their entire life cycle, thus improving performance, increasing safety, and providing greater value to the community. With an asset management approach, optimal decisions on what would be the most effective mix of preserving, maintaining, renewing, or replacing infrastructure components are based on accurate data, economic analysis, and sound engineering. Decisions are also supported by performance measures and performance-based goals.

"The availability of quality data has had a tremendous impact on an agency's ability to compare different investment options and to make sound business decisions that consider both engineering and economic factors," said Nastaran Saadatmand of FHWA's Office of Asset Management.

This new emphasis on asset management has meant a changing role for pavement management. While in the past, pavement management tools and techniques were primarily used to assess and report pavement conditions, prioritize capital improvements, and estimate funding needs, today's pavement management data can more broadly support an agency's asset management strategy by enabling the development of strategic performance objectives for the highway system.

To help agencies make this shift and more fully utilize their pavement management systems, the Roadmap identifies the steps needed to address current gaps in pavement management and establish research and development initiatives and priorities. FHWA developed the Roadmap through three regional workshops held in Phoenix, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; and McLean, Virginia, in 2010. Stakeholders participating in the workshops included representatives from State and local highway agencies, Canadian government agencies, academia, and private industry.

"The implementation of the Pavement Management Roadmap will rely on the creativity and resourcefulness of all those working in the pavement management community."

Twenty-three short-term needs (over the next 5 years) and 24 long-term needs (over the next 5 to 10 years) were identified and prioritized by participants. Meeting these needs would require more than $14.5 million in funding. Needs were grouped by four theme areas:

  1. Use of Existing Tools and Technologies.
  2. Institutional and Organizational Issues.
  3. The Broad Role of Pavement Management.
  4. New Tools, Methodologies, and Technology.

Top short-term needs outlined in the Roadmap include communicating pavement management information and benefits, developing and using effective performance measures, improving the skills of pavement managers, developing automated condition data processing tools, and developing methods to quantify the benefits of pavement management. "The short-term priorities emphasize the need for improved access to information about best practices and better methods to communicate the importance of pavement management to transportation agencies," said Saadatmand. "Stakeholders also emphasized the importance of improving data quality and consistency."

The long-term needs include ones that will require research to improve existing practices. Priority long-term needs include identifying methods of defining and calculating the effect of pavement preservation treatments on pavement life, defining the impact of pavement management investment levels on benefits, using pavement management data to support design activities, developing performance models that consider a series of pavement preservation treatments, and developing a method for effective modeling of structural condition.

The Roadmap also looks at the steps required to make the identified pavement management priorities a reality, noting that "the successful implementation of the Roadmap demands a focused, cooperative approach among national and international organizations."

"The implementation of the Pavement Management Roadmap will rely on the creativity and resourcefulness of all those working in the pavement management community," said Saadatmand. Preliminary recommendations include establishing a Pavement Management Roadmap Steering Committee as a subcommittee under the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Pavement Management. Also recommended is that funding support be identified for two to three priority initiatives each year through the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and TRB.

The Roadmap is available online at www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/asstmgmt/index.cfm, along with an accompanying Executive Summary (Pub. No. FHWA-HIF-11-014). For more information on the Roadmap, contact Nastaran Saadatmand at FHWA, 202-366-1337 (email: nastaran.saadatmand@fhwa.dot.gov).

Figure 2. Screenshot. Screenshot from FHWA's Pavement Management Web page (www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/mana.cfm).

Additional pavement management resources are available online at www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/mana.cfm.

Updated: 06/27/2017
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