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Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-11-070    Date:  July 2012
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-070
Date: July 2012


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



The Long-Term Plan for Concrete Pavement Research and Technology (CP Road Map) is a comprehensive and strategic plan for concrete pavement research that guides the investment of research dollars. It is a living plan with broad stakeholder involvement. For the last 5 years, it has tracked and facilitated technologies that have been helping the concrete pavement community meet the paving needs of today and the as-yet unimagined paving challenges. The CP Road Map is guiding the industry work toward a new generation of concrete pavements for the 21st century.


Strategic: It combines more than 270 research problem statements into 12 integrated and cohesive tracks of research, leading to specific products that will dramatically affect the way concrete pavements are designed and constructed.

Innovative: From the way it was developed, to its unique track structure and cross-track integration, to the plan for conducting the research, the CP Road Map introduces a new, inclusive, and far-reaching approach to pavement research.

Stakeholder involvement: This CP Road Map plan is for the Federal, State, and private concrete pavement community. Peers helped create it, so it reflects all needs. It has guided stakeholders in both research selection and prioritization.

No cost or time limitations: The research contained in the CP Road Map has an estimated overall cost of $275 to $500 million.

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. The plan incorporates innovative, effective research implementation to move useful new products and systems to the field quickly.


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the concrete pavement industry have commissioned a national research plan for the 21st century. Why is such a plan 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. It was a fairly forgiving formula that allowed some variations in subgrade quality, construction practices, and other variables without sacrificing pavement performance. For generations, the industry had the luxury of keeping traffic off of new concrete pavements for several days, even weeks, while the concrete developed its intended design strength.

In the past 20 years, the industry has experienced more changes than those that occurred in the previous 80 years, and the following changes are turning the process of building concrete pavements on end:

In this environment, the old system for constructing concrete pavements is not meeting today’s demands. Pavement failures have occurred that were unheard of 30 years ago. The concrete pavement community cannot continue business as usual if it is going to meet the growing demands on highway construction and rehabilitation. The CP Road Map gives the community an opportunity to proactively reinvent itself through research.


The project to develop the CP Road Map began in 2001 through an agreement between the Innovative Pavement Research Foundation and a team led by Iowa State University’s Center for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) Pavement Technology (PCC Center, now the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (National CP Tech Center)).

In May 2003, FHWA initiated a new agreement with the National CP Tech Center to complete the work. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee for Research on Improved Concrete Pavements acted as the project advisory panel. Twenty percent of funding for the project was provided by Iowa State University. The concrete pavement industry and State  transportation departments provided valuable input to the CP Road Map and support its implementation.

An Iowa State University-led team facilitated the development of the CP Road Map. They developed a database of existing research and gathered input face-to-face from the highway community. The team identified gaps in research that became the basis for problem statements, which are organized into a cohesive strategic research plan.

A “Living” Research Database

The research database is a thorough catalog of recently completed and in-progress research projects and their products. Over the years, this database has been regularly updated and has served as a valuable resource as part of the research management.

Stakeholder Input

The success of the CP Road Map has been the result of a cooperative process involving high levels of stakeholder teamwork.

This process began during its development when five major brainstorming and feedback sessions were conducted at the following events: the October 2003 meeting of the Midwest Concrete Consortium (now 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 American Concrete Pavement Association (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 the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA.

Through these events, plus special presentations at more than 20 professional conferences and workshops across the country, more than 400 engineers and managers provided direct input into the CP Road Map. Participants represented the following entities:

Input was provided in the following four broad categories:

Again and again, stakeholders who participated in these brainstorming events said they needed more and better analysis tools for measuring the “hows” and “whys” of pavement failures and successes—that is, to measure pavement performance. Better quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) methods/tools are needed for every stage of the pavement system, particularly mix design, design, and construction. Because variables in each stage affect the others, the methods/tools must be integrated across stages.

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

By 2020, 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 other stakeholder input, the following specific research objectives were identified:

The objectives were filtered through the project team’s 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.

Research problem statements, projects, budgets, timelines, and research results in the database must be regularly updated. The CP Road Map will succeed only if the database is managed and maintained.

From Stakeholder Input to Plan

Most of the 270+ problem statements did not fit neatly into just one of the brainstorming categories (mixtures and materials, design, construction, and pavement management/business systems).To capture the cross categories and the integrated nature of the problem statements, the problem statements were organized into 12 product-focused tracks of research within the database. This structure encourages various stakeholder groups to step forward as champions for a specific track. While there have been refinements, additions, and subtractions to the CP Road Map over the last 10 years of implementation, 12 tracks remain.

Problem Statements

Each problem statement is a topical summary only. Most problem statements will be further broken down into specific research project statements that provide detailed descriptions of the research to be accomplished, budgets, and timelines. The research management plan (described later in this report) makes research track team leaders responsible for data entry of detailed project statements into the database.

Track Integration

As noted in the 12 brief track descriptions in the following section, research in one track often affects or is affected by research in another track. In the CP Road Map, this interdependence and other critical relationships are outlined in the track and problem statement descriptions. It will be the responsibility of research track team leaders, as described later in this report, to ensure that research is appropriately coordinated and integrated.

Moreover, the research database can be sorted to isolate problem statements on a variety of subjects. For example, several important problem statements related to foundations and drainage systems, maintenance and rehabilitation, and environment advancements are included in various tracks. In the CP Road Map, problem statements related to these particular topics have been listed in separate cross-reference tables.


Each CP Road Map track is a full research program in itself, with its own budget, 2–7 subtracks, and as many as 45 problem statements. Subtracks include statements describing the development of innovative technology transfer, training tools, and methods to ensure that innovative research products are quickly and efficiently moved into practice.

The following list provides a brief description of each research track:

  1. Materials and Mixes for Concrete Pavements. The final product of this track will be 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 QC—a lab of the future. This track 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. For such a move to be successful, it is important that the concrete paving industry and owner-agencies refer to a single document for mix design state of the art.

  2. Performance-Based Design Guide for New and Rehabilitated Concrete Pavements. 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 NCHRP 1-37A, which led to the development of the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG), subsequently released by AASHTOWare® as design software DARWin-METM.(1) This track intends to continue to develop the models from that important work. The work in this track needs to be closely integrated with track 1.

  3. Intelligent Construction Systems and Quality Assurance for Concrete Pavements. This track will develop intelligent construction systems (ICSs) consisting of high-speed nondestructive QA methods to evaluate pavement properties continuously during construction. As a result, immediate adjustments can be made to ensure the highest quality finished product that meets given performance specifications. Many problem statements in this track relate to both tracks 1 and 2.

  4. Optimized Surface Characteristics for Safe, Quiet, and Smooth Concrete Pavements. This track will improve the understanding of concrete pavement surface characteristics. It will provide tools for engineers to help meet or exceed predetermined requirements for friction/safety, tire-pavement noise, smoothness, splash and spray, hydroplaning, light reflection (albedo), rolling resistance, and durability (longevity). Each of the functional elements of a pavement listed above is critical. The challenge is to improve one characteristic without compromising another characteristic, especially when it comes to safety of the public.

  5. Concrete Pavement Equipment Automation and Advancements. This track will result in process improvements and equipment developments for high-speed, high-quality concrete paving equipment to meet the concrete paving industry’s projected needs and the traveling public’s expectations for highway performance in the future. 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; equipment to remove/replace the slab in one-pass construction; improved repair processes that decrease the time of operations and provide the workforce and traveling public with less exposure; and methods for evaluating new equipment on actual construction projects.

  6. Innovative Concrete Pavement Joint Design, Materials, and Construction. Potential products for this track include guidelines that address premature joint deterioration, 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 the basics—joint design, materials, construction, and maintenance activities. The track also specifies research that will help develop breakthrough technologies and extremely high-speed joint repair techniques. This is a crosscutting track to ensure that all topics related to innovative joints are addressed. Much of the proposed research will develop important incremental improvements.

  7. Concrete Pavement Maintenance and Preservation. This track focuses on the maintenance and preservation of concrete pavements to preserve existing highway infrastructure assets. Problem statements in this track seek to establish reliable procedures and develop new and innovative methods for concrete pavement maintenance and preservation. Many enhancements to existing maintenance and preservation treatments are also envisioned through this research, including automation of distress and maintenance need identification and automation application of maintenance and preservation treatments to reduce the cost and expedite the application of treatments and enhance safety for maintenance workers.

  8. Concrete Pavement Construction, Reconstruction, and Overlays. Concrete pavements across the country will continue to be in need of rehabilitation under high-speed traffic conditions. Tremendous gains have been made in the past decade with respect to fast-track concrete paving, and this track will seek to expand research related to construction and reconstruction of concrete pavements in these types of environments. Furthermore, while asphalt pavement has traditionally been viewed as the only solution for overlays of existing pavement, over the past decade, tremendous advances have been made in the understanding and usage of concrete for overlays. This track will facilitate continued momentum with respect to concrete overlays, particularly as a solution for fast-track applications.

  9. Evaluation, Monitoring, and Strategies for Long-Life Concrete Pavements. Long-life pavements are needed to handle the congestion and traffic loading that pavements will experience in their lifetime. To meet a 30-year calendar design life, a pavement built today may need to withstand 70 to 100 percent more axle loads per 1 mi than a similar pavement built 10 years ago. This track will focus on strategies, materials, and construction processes for long-life concrete pavements. It will address tools to help ensure long-life concrete pavements through data collection and usage of accelerated loading test facilities.

  10. Concrete Pavement Foundations and Drainage. It has long been established that principal components of a long-life concrete pavement include a uniform foundation and proper measures taken for drainage. Given the sheer variety of potential conditions that can be present on any given job (e.g., soil type), there is no “one size fits all” solution. This track explores research and technology related to these important topics, with a particular emphasis on tasks that can be readily applied in a site-specific manner.

  11. Concrete Pavement Economics and Business Management. Roles and responsibilities are changing in the highway industry, affecting the way paving projects are designed, bid, built, and maintained. Contractors are being asked to assume more control of the operation and QC inspections. By including warranty provisions and innovative contracting clauses in project contracts, owner-agencies are asking for additional assurance that pavements will be built and will perform as expected. Internationally, many countries have made dramatic changes in project funding methods and in the roles of contractors and suppliers. This track captures some important research that should be considered as this process of transformation continues in the United States. Problem statements cover topics such as contracting options, new technology transfer systems, public-private partnerships, and economic models.

  12. Concrete Pavement Sustainability. The key to successfully increasing sustainability of concrete pavements is to consider all three “pillars” of sustainability—economic, environmental, and social considerations. In the context of this track, sustainability refers to the use of materials and practices in concrete pavement design, construction, operation, preservation, rehabilitation, and recycling (things we do now) that reduce life-cycle costs, improve the environmental footprint, and increase the benefits to society (things we need to learn to do). This track will focus on research into sustainable practices for both new construction and the concrete pavement network which already exists. Research will identify and quantify characteristics of concrete pavement systems that contribute to enhanced sustainability of roadways in terms of economic, environmental, and social considerations; providing the tools and data needed to quantify each; and understanding the relationship to one another.


Implementation of the CP Road Map has followed the spirit of the research management plan as originally proposed—a framework that outlines a progressive cooperative approach to managing and conducting the research. Under this plan, organizations identify common interests, partner with each other in executing specific contracts, and, in the end, produce and share a product that is greater than the sum of the parts.

The research management plan emphasizes scope control, phasing of research, reporting, systems integration, voluntary peer review, maintenance of the research database, program-wide technology transfer, and assistance to organizations that want to leverage their funds and human resources.

Philosophy for Managing Research

The research management plan is based on the following assumptions:

Governing Structure

In line with this general philosophy, the research management plan outlines a four-tier system of participation and responsibility: an executive advisory committee (EAC), an administrative support group, research track team leaders, and sustaining organizations.

A tri-party EAC, representing FHWA, State transportation departments, and industry, will provide broad oversight of the CP Road Map. It will be a decisionmaking and policy-making facilitation group with the following responsibilities:

An administrative support group will provide professional management services for the EAC and, to a lesser degree, the research track team leaders. It will be the “doing” body for coordination and support activities, like maintaining the research database.

Research track team leaders will coordinate and oversee the following activities within a specific research track:

Sustaining organizations—agencies, consultants, universities, professional associations, and other organizations with specialized interests and skills that are interested in pooling dedicated funds—will assume responsibility for conducting research through cooperation, partnerships, and funding agreements. Some people and organizations will assume multiple roles.

In addition, sustaining organizations conducting research under the CP Road Map may retain full fiscal and technical control of the work under their jurisdictions. The key to successful conduct of the research, however, is cooperation, and the research management plan facilitates and supports cooperative efforts.

The implementation of the CP Road Map has largely followed this plan, with the National CP Tech Center providing administrative support under contract through a transportation pooled fund project, TPF-5(185).(2)


The CP Road Map is a plan for concrete pavement research consisting of 12 tracks and subtracks. Since its development, the management of these tracks has been conducted via track management teams consisting of leaders in the respective areas.

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 transportation departments, and Federal agencies. These estimates are subject to change as the CP Road Map evolves. All numbers provided are rounded. The total cost for all tracks is $277–$492 million.

  1. Materials and Mixes for Concrete Pavements ($38–$81 million)

    • 1-1. Performance-Based Mix Design and Specifications.

    • 1-2. Materials Selection and Testing.

    • 1-3. Innovative Materials.

    • 1-4. Materials Proportioning.

    • 1-5. Mixture Evaluation.

    • 1-6. Post-Construction Pavement Materials Evaluation.

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

    • 2-1. Design Guide Structural Models.

    • 2-2. Design Guide Inputs, Performance Models, and Reliability.

    • 2-3. Special Design and Rehabilitation Issues.

    • 2-4. Improved Mechanistic Design Procedures.

    • 2-5. Design Guide Implementation.

  3. Intelligent Construction Systems and Quality Assurance for Concrete Pavements ($20–$41 million)

    • 3-1. Quality Assurance.

    • 3-2. Intelligent Construction System Technologies and Methods.

    • 3-3. Intelligent Construction System Evaluation and Implementation.

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

    • 4-1. Concrete Pavement Texture and Friction.

    • 4-2. Concrete Pavement Smoothness.

    • 4-3. Tire-Pavement Noise.

    • 4-4. Other Concrete Pavement Surface Characteristics.

    • 4-5. Integration of Concrete Pavement Surface Characteristics.

    • 4-6. Evaluation of Products for Concrete Pavement Surface Characteristics.

    • 4-7. Concrete Pavement Surface Characteristics Implementation.

  5. Concrete Pavement Equipment Automation and Advancements ($26–$56 million)

    • 5-1. Concrete Batching and Mixing Equipment.

    • 5-2. Concrete Placement Equipment.

    • 5-3. Concrete Pavement Curing, Texturing, and Jointing Equipment.

    • 5-4. Concrete Pavement Foundation Equipment.

    • 5-5. Concrete Pavement Reconstruction Equipment.

    • 5-6. Concrete Pavement Restoration Equipment.

    • 5-7. Advanced Equipment Evaluation and Implementation.

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

    • 6-1. Joint Design Innovations.

    • 6-2. Joint Materials, Construction, Evaluation, and Rehabilitation Innovations.

    • 6-3. Innovative Joints Implementation.

  7. Concrete Pavement Maintenance and Preservation ($8–$13 million)

    • 7-1. Optimization and Automation of Pavement Maintenance.

    • 7-2. Optimized Concrete Pavement Preservation.

    • 7-3. Distress Identification and Preservation Treatment.

    • 7-4. Feedback Loop for Concrete Pavement Preservation Effectiveness.

  8. Concrete Pavement Construction, Reconstruction, and Overlays ($31–$53 million)

    • 8-1. Construction, Reconstruction, and Overlay Planning and Simulation.

    • 8-2. Precast and Modular Concrete Pavements.

    • 8-3. Concrete Overlays.

    • 8-4. Fast-Track Concrete Pavements.

    • 8-5. Construction, Reconstruction, and Overlay Evaluation and Implementation.

  9. Evaluation, Monitoring, and Strategies for Long-Life Concrete Pavement($21–$34 million)

    • 9-1. Technologies for Measuring Concrete Pavement Performance.

    • 9-2. Strategies for Long-Life Concrete Pavements.

    • 9-3. Construction Techniques and Materials Selection for Long-Life Concrete Pavements and Overlays.

    • 9-4. Planning and Design of Accelerated Loading and Long-Term Data Collection.

    • 9-5. Preparation of Data Collection/Testing Procedures and Construction of Test Road.

    • 9-6. Long-Life Concrete Pavement Performance Implementation.

  10. Concrete Pavement Foundations and Drainage ($6–$12 million)

    • 10-1. Concrete Pavement Foundations.

    • 10-2. Concrete Pavement Drainage.

  11. Concrete Pavement Economics and Business Management ($21–$31 million)

    • 11-1. Concrete Pavement Research and Technology Management and Implementation.

    • 11-2. Concrete Pavement Economics and Life-Cycle Costs.

    • 11-3. Innovative Contracting and Incentives for Concrete Pavement Work.

    • 11-4. Technology Transfer and Publications for Concrete Pavement Best Practices.

  12. Concrete Pavement Sustainability ($30–$40 million)

    • 12-1. Materials and Mixture Proportioning Procedures for Sustainable Concrete Pavements.

    • 12-2. Design Procedures for Sustainable Concrete Pavements.

    • 12-3. Construction Practices for Sustainable Concrete Pavements.

    • 12-4. Preservation, Rehabilitation, and Recycling Strategies for Sustainable Concrete Pavements.

    • 12-5. Improved Economic Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Sustainable Concrete Pavements.

    • 12-6. Adoption and Implementation of Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment for Sustainable Concrete Pavements.

    • 12-7. Design Procedures for Sustainable Concrete Pavements.

    • 12-8. Concrete Pavement Decisions with Environmental Impact.


The CP Road Map is published in two volumes. Volume I contains an executive summary and the following eight chapters:

Volume II contains an executive summary and describes, in detail, the 12 tracks of planned and ongoing research as follows:

Each problem statement clearly defines tasks that need to be performed to produce a desired product or achieve a desired objective. Each problem statement will need to be developed into appropriate research project statements with detailed descriptions of the research to be accomplished, specific budgets, and definite timelines.


Managing a long-term research program is a long, slow process. The CP Road Map provides a framework for moving forward.

Stakeholders in the concrete pavement community are invited to participate.

To receive a copy of the full two-volume CP Road Map with complete problem statements, contact Ahmad Ardani, FHWA, (202) 493-3422, ahmad.ardani@dot.gov.

For additional information, go to http://www.cproadmap.org.


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