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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
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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-11-065    Date:  April 2012
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-065
Date: April 2012


Long-Term Plan for Concrete Pavement Research and Technology—The Concrete Pavement Road Map (Second Generation): Volume I, Background and Summary


The team in charge of developing the CP Road Map conducted the following activities:

  • Completed a literature search and developed a research database.

  • Solicited input from the broad concrete pavement community.

  • Identified and organized research needs and objectives into a cohesive strategic research plan.


The literature search consisted of two parts. First, information about all recently completed and ongoing research projects was entered into a research database. This database later was used as a filter to ensure that the new research plan does not duplicate existing research.

Second, several research and technology plans developed by other organizations were reviewed to identify concepts that should be included in the CP Road Map. These plans included the following:

Although each of these plans was uniquely valuable, none contained a fully integrated sequential and cohesive series of research statements that would dramatically change the way concrete pavements are designed and built. Many of the plans, however, did include individual research statements that, on their own merit, were incorporated into the CP Road Map planning process and research database. The CP Road Map development process is illustrated in figure 1.

Figure 1. Photo. Deck surface of bridge carrying SR-295 over Blue Creek in Lucas County, OH.

Figure 1. Photo. Deck surface of bridge carrying SR-295 over Blue Creek in Lucas County, OH.


Five major brainstorming and feedback sessions were conducted at the following events: the October 2003 meeting of the National Concrete Consortium in Ames, IA; a special November 2003 regional workshop for Eastern and Southern stakeholders in Syracuse, NY; the May 2004 meeting of the ACPA in Kansas City, MO; a special January 2004 regional teleconference for Western stakeholders; and a final meeting of national stakeholders in October 2004 hosted by FHWA at TFHRC.


Through these events, in addition to more than 20 presentations at workshops around the country (see appendix A for a detailed list of events), more than 400 engineers and managers representing every stakeholder group provided direct input into the CP Road Map.

Participating stakeholders include the following:

Brainstorming Strategies

It is easy to talk about soliciting input from stakeholders. However, in a project of this size and complexity, it was critical to have a system to help focus stakeholders’ brainstorming processes.

In addition, stakeholders came to the brainstorming events with specific goals or projects already in mind. It was important to help participants look beyond their own pet projects.

Two brainstorming strategies were used. First, participants responded to draft big-picture vision statements identifying research needed to provide the concrete pavement characteristics that will meet the needs of end users and owners well into the future. Through guided activities, participants evaluated, revised, added to, subtracted from, and prioritized the vision statements. This process helped participants dream big.

Then, in small groups, participants identified specific critical issues in each of the following areas that must be resolved through research to achieve desired pavement characteristics:

Participants discussed new tools they need and existing ones that need to be improved. They discussed systems that must be in place, including financing and bidding systems. They identified obstacles that must be overcome.

Again and again, stakeholders who participated in the brainstorming events said they needed more and better analysis tools for measuring the "hows" and "whys" of pavement failures and successes—that is, for measuring pavement performance. Better QA and QC methods and tools are needed for every stage of the pavement system, from design to maintenance to rehabilitation. Because variables in each stage affect the other stages, the methods and tools must be integrated across stages.

From these central concepts of pavement performance and systems integration, the following overall vision for the CP Road Map was developed:

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

Based on this goal and stakeholder input at the brainstorming sessions, dozens of specific research objectives were identified, which were subsequently categorized. Some of these objectives included the following:

The objectives were filtered through the database of existing research to determine gaps in research. These gaps became the basis for problem statements. Approximately 250 problem statements were written, reviewed, and fine-tuned. Final versions of the problem statements were added to the research database as work to be accomplished via the CP Road Map.

Identifying critical research issues and objectives was an ongoing reciprocal process. Participants at successive brainstorming events responded to, refined, and prioritized critical issues and objectives identified at previous events. For the duration of this project, participants at the brainstorming events and stakeholders unable to attend were invited to submit additional feedback and ideas through the project Web site.


FHWA requested a strategic research plan outlining up to a decade of integrated activities, including research, technology development and implementation, and technology transfer, with ample details to guide technical panels that will implement the plan. Therefore, the CP Road Map is a synopsis of research needs outlined in problem statements and organized in tracks of research.

Between brainstorming events, the problem statements were constantly revised and improved. Some were culled completely, others were fine-tuned, and some closely related concepts were combined, all with feedback from stakeholders. The problem statements were sorted and resorted in a variety of ways to integrate and organize the statements into the most appropriate tracks for facilitating ownership by various stakeholder groups. This ownership will be critical for successful conduct of the research.

The integration process resulted in identifying and developing 12 research tracks. This manageable number of tracks is in line with recommendations from the FHWA panel and encourages the community to focus on research with the highest potential payback. Some tracks closely mimic the trends identified in chapter 1 of this report as driving the need for the CP Road Map.

Each research track was organized into subtracks of research problem statements that, as research is conducted, will lead to the achievement of a major objective or development of a major product. This organizational strategy lends itself to scheduling and strategically integrating related research.

Specific goals, expected outcomes, and estimated budgets were defined for each research track and subtrack. Several research problem statements were coordinated, or linked, with research in other tracks to ensure an integrated approach to QC for desired pavement performance. For example, pavement design models are linked to mix design and construction control; the linkages were built into the research database.

At a terminal event in October 2004, stakeholders provided final feedback on the CP Road Map. This event ensured that the CP Road Map’s objectives are clear and its goals attainable. The research is a blend of the practical, incremental, and innovative; work priorities are clear; and the implementation strategy is innovative and doable.

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