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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
OFFICE OF RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY AT THE TURNER-FAIRBANK HIGHWAY RESEARCH CENTER

Improved Reliability Modeling and Analysis for Primary Pavement Distress Models of Mechanistic-Empirical Design Guide

Project Information

Project ID:
FHWA-PROJ-07-0017
Project Abstract:

This study is concerned with enhancing the reliability analysis currently used in the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG). The MEPDG uses a set of mechanistic-empirical models to analyze distresses of pavement structures in response to traffic, climate, and materials. These models include transverse joint faulting and transverse cracking for rigid pavements, and permanent deformation, fatigue cracking, and thermal cracking for flexible pavements. In order to evaluate the reliability of a selected pavement structure, the current procedure utilizes the overall standard deviation of the measured distresses obtained from calibration against distressed pavements in comparison with predicted values. This technique is fairly simple; however, it is far from accurate. Some limitations of the method may be attributed to the standard deviation being calibration-site specific, as well as the assumption of normality of the distribution of the measured distress levels. Additionally, this method relies on the variability of the measured output rather than on the variability/uncertainty of the input parameters that induce such variability in distress. The identification of an improved methodology for assessing design reliability is a top priority. In this study, the uncertainties in model input parameters (materials, climate, traffic) due to inherent spatial variability of materials and testing nonuniformity will be incorporated by using a number of advanced reliability techniques to assess the reliability of flexible and rigid pavements. Both analytical and simulation will be investigated. Materials variability and uncertainty associated with estimating many other input parameters will be determined from historical records. The reliability associated with pavement smoothness, as a primary measure of ride quality, in response to the various distresses encountered will be analyzed. Design reliabilities obtained from the various methods used will be compared to the current method. Advantages and disadvantages of the new methodologies in comparison with the current method will be discussed in light of both the accuracy and computational feasibility or practicality.

Goals 

The key project objectives are:

  • Reliable and effective pavement design.
  • Efficient reliability analysis for pavement design.
Research HUB ID:
7796
Project Status:
Completed
Project Funding Amount (Contract Award Amount):
$50,000.00
Start Date:
End Date:
Public Access Plan:
No
Grant/Contract ID:
  • DTFH61-08-D-00001-T005
FHWA Program Area:
  • Infrastructure
FHWA AMRP Program:
  • Pavements and Materials

Contact Information

Team:
Infrastructure Analysis and Construction Team
Office:
Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Office Code:
HRDI-20

Management Organizations

Sponsor Organization

Organization Role:
Sponsor Organization
Organization:
Federal Highway Administration: Office of Research, Development, and Technology - Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Contact Role:
Project Lead

Managing Organization

Organization Role:
Project Managing Organization
Organization:
Federal Highway Administration: Office of Research, Development, and Technology - Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Contact Role:
Project Contact

Performing Organization

Organization Role:
Performing Organization
Organization:
Federal Highway Administration: Office of Research, Development, and Technology - Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Contact Role:
Project Contact

Partners and Other Sponsor/Managing/Performing Organizations

Organization Role:
Partner: Technical
Organization:
Washington State University