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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Pavements and Materials Research and Development Topics

FHWA’s pavement and materials research and development (R&D) provides technologies and solutions to advance the state of the practice in highway pavement engineering. To achieve these goals and objectives, the Office of Infrastructure R&D conducts and manages research in the following areas:

Pavements and Materials Research and Development Topics

Design and Analysis

Design and analysis R&D addresses pavement structural design, pavement response modeling, and prediction of both structural and functional performance.


Materials R&D seeks to advance technology and tools for evaluation, testing, specification, mixture proportioning and optimization for materials used in highway construction, preservation, maintenance, and rehabilitation. Materials considered include traditional materials—asphalt, portland cement concrete, and aggregate—as well as recycled and reused materials and new or innovative materials.


Construction R&D seeks to develop construction management, specifications, and other technologies to ensure that finished construction projects meet the intent of the design. This work includes evaluating the effects on pavement performance of construction processes, procedures and specifications, and pavement repair and rehabilitation.

Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP)

The Long-Term Pavement Performance Program is a comprehensive study of in-service, asphalt, and portland cement concrete pavement test sections across the United States and Canada.

Pavement Management

Pavement management R&D provides tools and technologies to help agencies understand the condition and performance of the pavement network and make sound decisions concerning investments to preserve and improve the system.


Preservation R&D provides tools, technologies, and guidance to help maintain pavements in good condition.

Surface Characteristics

Surface characteristics R&D provides tools, technologies, and guidance to enable optimization of pavement surface characteristics from a standpoint of safety (frictional characteristics), user satisfaction (ride quality), and noise generation.

Materials Quality Assurance

Materials quality assurance R&D provides tools and guidance to help agencies ensure that the quality of the as-constructed pavement will meet the design intent.

Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

Environmental stewardship and sustainability research provides tools and technologies to enable appropriate consideration of the short and long-term environmental implications of pavement engineering decisions, and support expanded use of recycled, reused, and marginal materials in highway pavement construction without detriment to long-term performance.

Last updated: Friday, August 27, 2021