U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-074
Date: September 2005

Techbrief: The Concrete Pavement Road Map

PDF Version (763 KB)

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®


The Concrete Pavement (CP) Road Map is a plan for concrete pavement research that will guide the investment of research dollars for the next several years. This TechBrief is a summary of FHWA-HRT-05-052 Concrete Pavement Road Map Volume I and FHWA-HRT-05-053 Concrete Pavement Road Map Volume II.

CP Road Map Vision

By 2015, the highway community will have a comprehensive, integrated, fully functional system of concrete pavement technologies that provides innovative solutions for customer-driven performance requirements.

Why is The CP Road Map Needed?

For most of the 20th century, the same materials—portland cement, high-quality aggregate, and water—were used in pavement concrete, with only minor refinements. This fairly forgiving formula allowed some variations in subgrade quality, construction practices, and other variables without sacrificing pavement performance.

In today's environment, however—with new, sometimes incompatible materials, more demanding production schedules, and other pressures—the old system for constructing concrete pavements is not as malleable.

The CP Road Map gives the highway community an opportunity to reinvent itself proactively through research.

What is Unique About The CP Road Map?

Comprehensive and strategic— The CP Road Map combines more than 250 research problem statements into 12 fully integrated, sequential, and cohesive tracks of research.

Innovative—The CP Road Map introduces a new, inclusive, and far-reaching approach to pavement research. It incorporates a comprehensive, flexible research database to track conducted research and revise or adjust as appropriate.

Stakeholder involvement— The CP Road Map was created by and intended for the Federal, State, and private concrete pavement community. More than 400 stakeholders helped develop the plan through many brainstorming sessions, which began in 2001.

No cost or time limitations—The CP Road Map is a 7- to 10-year plan with an estimated overall cost of $250 million ($250 M).

Independent of any one agency or pot of money—Stakeholders with funds and expertise will pool their resources, jointly conduct and coordinate the research, and apply the results.

Inextricably linked to technology transfer—Development of innovative technology transfer methods is incorporated into the research tracks.

Research Tracks

Each of the CP Road Map tracks is a full research program in itself. Tracks 1 through 9 consist of timed sequences of research leading to products that are essential to reaching overall goals. In every phased track, one subtrack is devoted specifically to developing innovative technology transfer, training tools, and methods.

Research in many tracks is linked to related research in other tracks. Some critical research topics—such as pavement maintenance, foundations and drainage, and environmental advancements—are incorporated throughout the tracks. Making these links and sorting the problem statements through unique queries is possible through the CP Road Map research database.

The general range of costs associated with each track represents the time dedicated to the CP Road Map by multiple stakeholders who contributed to its development. The support needed for this effort comes from in-kind services and funding provided by a number of participants including industry organizations, State departments of transportation, and Federal agencies. These estimates are subject to change as the CP Road Map evolves.

1. Performance-Based Concrete Pavement Mix Design System. ($30-68 M*)

Figure 1. Illustration. Performance-based concrete pavement mix design system. In this illustration of the lab of the future, researchers are using advanced computers, software, and other technology to develop innovative mix designs.

This track will produce a practical yet innovative concrete mix design procedure with new equipment, consensus target values, common laboratory procedures, and full integration with both structural design and field quality control—a lab of the future. It also lays the groundwork for the concrete paving industry to assume more responsibility for mix designs as State highway agencies move from method specifications to more advanced acceptance tools.

*All numbers are rounded.

2. Performance-Based Design Guide for New and Rehabilitated Concrete Pavements. ($41-60 M)

Figure 2. Illustration. Performance-based design guide for new and rehabilitated concrete pavements. As shown in this illustration, researchers working on CP Road Map projects will develop tools and models to help designers manipulate multiple variables in paving projects—such as materials, weather, structural requirements, pavement characteristics, subgrade, and drainage—and understand the implications of various design scenarios.

Under this track, the concrete pavement research community will expand the mechanistic approach to pavement restoration and preservation strategies. This track builds on the comprehensive work done under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 1-37A (creating the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide) and continues to develop the models from that key work.

3. High-Speed Nondestructive Testing and Intelligent Construction Systems. ($20-41 M)

Figure 3. Illustration. High-speed nondestructive testing and intelligent construction system. This illustration depicts a construction supervisor using a hand-held device to monitor various technologies. Technologies such as satellites, global positioning systems, pavement sensors, and advanced paving and construction equipment will help engineers make timely decisions during construction projects in response to weather and other variables.

This track will develop high-speed, nondestructive quality control systems to monitor pavement properties continuously during construction. As a result, instant adjustments can be made to ensure the finished product meets given performance specifications.

4. Optimized Surface Characteristics for Safe, Quiet, and Smooth Concrete Pavements. ($25-54 M)

Figure 4. Illustration. Optimized surface characteristics for safe, quiet, and smooth concrete pavements. The illustration depicts a semitractor-trailer and passenger car driving on a road during the rain. An inset closeup of the truck’s tires emphasizes the goal of reducing splash and spray on the wet pavement surface. The inset of a sleeping child in the car emphasizes the need for pavement surfaces that reduce tire-pavement noise and provide adequate traction for safety.

This track will improve understanding of concrete pavement surface characteristics. It will provide tools to help engineers meet or exceed requirements for friction/safety, pavement-tire noise, smoothness, splash and spray, wheel path wear (hydroplaning), light reflection, rolling resistance, and durability (longevity). The challenge is to improve one characteristic without compromising another.

5. Equipment Automation and Advancements. ($26-56 M)

Figure 5. Illustration. Equipment automation and advancements. This illustration depicts a futuristic, one-step pavement lifter, crusher, and sorter. Developing advanced and automated equipment like this will help the concrete paving industry complete highway projects quickly and effectively with minimal disruption to traffic.

This track will improve process and technology for high-speed, high-quality concrete paving equipment. Examples include the next generation of concrete batching and placement equipment; behind-the-paver equipment to improve curing, surface treatment, and jointing; mechanized ways to place and control subdrains and other foundation elements; one-pass construction equipment; and improved repair processes.

6. Innovative Concrete Pavement Joint Design, Materials, and Construction. ($10-15 M)

Figure 6. Illustration. Innovative concrete pavement joint design, materials, and construction. The illustration depicts two cars approaching a joint in a slab of concrete. The joint is drawn to look like a zipper, suggesting that in the future, workers will be able to replace joints as quickly and conveniently as zipping a zipper.

Potential products for this track include a new joint design, high-speed computer analysis techniques for joint performance, a more accurate installation scheme, and faster rehabilitation strategies. The problem statements in this track address proposed research that will help develop breakthrough technologies and extremely high-speed joint repair techniques.

7. High-Speed Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation and Construction. ($10-20 M)

Figure 7. Illustration. High-speed concrete pavement rehabilitation and construction. This figure shows a closeup illustration of modular construction. A slab of concrete is inset with locking joints and is suspended by three wires that are attached to the top of the slab.

This track addresses a series of activities. Some involve planning and simulation of high-speed construction and rehabilitation, precast and modular options for concrete pavements, and fast track concrete pavement construction and rehabilitation; others propose evaluation and technology transfer of high-speed construction and rehabilitation products and processes developed through research.

8. Long Life Concrete Pavements. ($11-17 M)

Figure 8. Illustration. Long life concrete pavements. Depicting pages in a calendar, this illustration shows various stages in the life of a concrete pavement system, including scenes showing rainy and sunny weather, surveyors, excavation equipment, paving equipment, and traffic on the finished roadway. Researchers aim to design concrete pavements that perform well year after year, achieving a lifespan of 60 years or more.

The need for pavements that last longer between maintenance, restoration, or rehabilitation is integrated throughout the CP Road Map. However, this track highlights specific research that may address pavement life approaching 60 years or more.

9. Concrete Pavement Accelerated Loading and Long-Term Data Collection. ($10-16 M)

Figure 9. Illustration. Concrete pavement accelerated loading and long-term data collection. This illustration shows a grid of concrete slabs and a large truck on top of them, depicting the pavement deflection caused by a heavy truck. A future national program for research will involve constructing test sections and collecting data on long-term performance from accelerated load tests.

This track provides the infrastructure—such as testing methods and data collection and reporting tools—for a future national program that will plan accelerated loading and long-term data needs, construct test sections, and collect and share data.

10. Concrete Pavement Performance. ($3-4 M)

Figure 10. Illustration. Concrete pavement performance. This illustration depicts data being collected by pavement monitoring devices placed throughout the roadway system. The data listed are air void system, traffic spectrum, material-related distress, density, noise, pavement surface conditions, International Roughness Index smoothness, satellite global positioning system relay, and high-speed detection and analysis system. Collecting detailed data on performance will help State departments of transportation determine how well their concrete pavements live up to agency and user expectations.

This track addresses key elements of pavement management and asset management systems that determine whether or not and in what manner pavements meet performance characteristics. Research will address the functional aspects of concrete pavement performance, particularly surface characteristics. Research also will provide rapid performance feedback and examine ways to schedule surface characteristics and condition improvements.

11. Concrete Pavement Business Systems and Economics. ($21-31 M)

Figure 11. Illustration. Concrete pavement business systems and economics. This illustration depicts several contractors at a project bidding conference. In addition to a focus on materials and construction technologies, the CP Road Map drives research into new contracting options, warranty provisions, technology transfer systems, public-private partnerships, and economic models.

Roles and responsibilities are changing in the highway industry, affecting the way in which paving projects are designed, bid, built, and maintained. Contractors are being asked to assume more control of the operation and quality control inspections. This track captures some important research regarding topics such as contracting options, new technology transfer systems, public-private partnerships, and economic models.

12. Advanced Concrete Pavement Materials. ($11-23 M)

Figure 12. Illustration. Advanced concrete pavement materials. This illustration depicts a computer, keyboard, and CPU standing beside it, emphasizing the role of technology in creating the advancement of concrete materials.

The problem statements in this track aim to develop new materials and refine or reintroduce existing advanced materials to enhance performance, improve construction, and reduce waste. Many existing materials studied in this track have been used only on a small scale or in laboratory evaluations. Many of them have not been used in the United States but show promise based on work done in other countries.


A unique research plan warrants an innovative system for managing and conducting the research. The research management plan that accompanies the CP Road Map:

Research Management Plan
Figure of Diagram. Research management plan. This figure demonstrates how the research in the CP Road Map would be managed. There are three categories in the diagram: Executive Advisory Committee (composed of Federal, States, and industry), Research Track Team Leaders (oversee work within each track: schedules, budgets, integration, and plan updates), and Administrative Support Group (which primarily provides support for the Executive Advisory Committee). There are several potential sustaining organizations listed within the Executive Advisory Committee: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Concrete Pavement Association, Federal Highway Administration, Midwest Concrete Consortium, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, Portland Cement Association, Transportation Research Board, individual DOTs, and others. Members of this committee would oversee CP Road Map updates, integration of research tracks, research database management, integration of new software products, communications and technology transfer, partnering and fund management, and innovative research. The Administrative Support Group will provide lists of potential track leaders; suggest and facilitate partnering arrangements; help integrate research across tracks; update and maintain the research database; obtain information from State and Federal agencies on current research; develop recommendations for improving, adjusting, or adding new research; solicit new and innovative ideas and concepts; organize continuous expert review and advice on conduct of research; recommend strategies to ensure software compatibility; address intellectual property rights issues; identify and recommend technology transfer activities; identify and facilitate the development of specific, track-related training efforts; and develop and implement a communications effort. The Research Track Team Leaders would oversee work on each track, with the exception of track 11; this track would be overseen by the Executive Advisory Committee.


Beginning a long-term research program is a long, slow process. In this case, the CP Road Map provides a framework for moving forward.

Stakeholders in the concrete pavement community are invited to participate:

Researchers—This study was performed by D.S. Harrington of Iowa State University's Center for Portland Cement Concrete Pavement Technology, Ames, IA; T. Ferragut of TDC Partners, Ltd., Alexandria, VA; R. Rasmussen of The Transtec Group, Inc., Austin, TX; and M.I. Darter of Applied Research Associates, Inc., ERES Consultants Division, Champaign, IL.

Distribution—This TechBrief is being distributed according to a standard distribution. Direct distribution is being made to the Divisions and Resource Centers.

Availability—FHWA-HRT-05-052 Concrete Pavement Road Map Volume I and FHWA-HRT-05-053 Concrete Pavement Road Map Volume II will be available in fall 2005. The reports, this TechBrief, and FHWA-HRT-05-047 CP Road Map Executive Summary may be obtained from the FHWA Product Distribution Center by e-mail to report.center@fhwa.dot.gov, by fax to 301–577–1421, or by phone to 301–577–0818.

Key Words—Concrete pavement, concrete mix design, pavement construction, pavement design, pavement performance, pavement smoothness, equipment automation, accelerated loading, longterm data collection, nondestructive testing, intelligent construction systems, concrete pavement joint design.

Notice— This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document. The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this document only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement—The FHWA provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Pavement Techbrief logo

Concrete Pavement Technology Program (CPTP) logo

The Concrete Pavement Technology Program (CPTP) is an integrated, national effort to improve the long-term performance and cost-effectiveness of concrete pavements. Managed by the Federal Highway Administration through partnerships with State highway agencies, industry, and academia, the CPTP's primary goals are to reduce congestion, reduce costs, improve performance, and foster innovation. The program is designed to produce user-friendly software, procedures, methods, guidelines, and other tools for use in materials selection, mix design, pavement design, construction, and rehabilitation of concrete pavements.

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Research, Development, and Technology
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296