This study consists of four related tasks: Task 1: Recommend an optimum set of pavement condition data items, frequency of data collection, and accuracy for an effective pavement management system. Regular pavement condition data collection is an integral, important, and probably the costliest component of an agency's pavement management operation. However, there has been no formal evaluation of, or development of, guidelines for the optimum set of pavement condition data items, the collection frequency, and the level of accuracy needed to support an effective pavement management operation. The data collection is still largely based on a "common sense" approach, or continuation of past practices without consideration to changes in data collection methods, evolving need, and evaluation of cost benefits or more importantly, differential cost versus value added. This study will critically review the current practice and evaluate the type of pavement condition data items, the collection frequency, the level of accuracy needed to support an effective pavement management operation, the incremental costs, and value added. Task 2: Develop best practices and guidelines to integrate design, material, and construction information within a pavement management system. The pavement management system concept was initially conceived as a framework for pavement design, but since has evolved independently and disconnected from pavement design. With the increased emphasis and recognition of Mechanistic-Empirical based design, Mechanistic-Empirical Design Guide local calibration and implementation efforts, and the data requirement of a Mechanistic-Empirical based design, the development of guidelines for integration of pavement design, material, and construction information with pavement management is warranted not only as it will help these efforts in the short term but also help close the loop from design to the end product throughout its life cycle. In particular, this effort will aid in the areas of: feedback system for pavement design and pavement design model calibration, forensic studies, facilitation of consistent performance models in pavement design and pavement management, and data mining. In addition, the Mechanistic-Empirical Design Guide predicted response can serve as the as-designed and as-build project specific performance model in pavement management systems that is adaptively calibrated with regular monitoring, providing early feedback on the designed and actual performance variations. Task 3: Recommend procedures to guide the selection of optimum timing and treatment for pavement preservation and rehabilitation of a pavement section to achieve the lowest life-cycle cost (LCC). In concept, the "right treatment for the right pavement at the right timing" should be selected by applying lowest life-cycle cost (LCC) principles, but most agencies are following indirect or subjective approaches. For example, some agencies use a decision tree when selecting the appropriate treatment based on one or more condition indices and other classification parameters, while others use the concept that there is a window of opportunity to apply preservation treatment to minimize LCC while maximizing benefits. However, there has been no documented analysis of looking at the actual costs of various treatments in terms of agency costs and user benefits, timings, and effectiveness to quantify or validate these approaches. Methods are needed that comprehensively guide the determination of "right treatment for the right pavement at the right timing." Task 4: Recommend procedures to comprehensively quantify the effectiveness of a pavement preservation program at the network level. While most agencies have adopted pavement preservation, and it is claimed to have resulted in reduced agency costs and increased user benefits, there is no direct proof to claim. Often agencies demonstrate the benefit by the overall improvement in network condition over the years. While the improvement in overall network condition is testimony to better decisions in maintaining our pavements, particularly in light of shrinking funds and increasing demand, a number of factors contribute to this, including better materials, improved design and construction practices, and pavement preservation. Continued support for pavement preservation requires that methods be available or developed to demonstrate the benefits of pavement preservation and the consequence of not doing so in unambiguous, quantitative terms. With State highway agencies moving from managing the various transportation assets independently to a total asset management concept, pavement management systems should have the ability to quantify the cost effectiveness of the pavement preservation strategies it recommends. This is not only to support the trade off analysis and decision making, but also for its sustainability among competing demands. [Note: Additional funds are being requested to support a study that is in proposal evaluation phase.]
The key project objectives are:
- Recommend an optimum set of pavement condition data items, frequency of data collection, and accuracy for an effective pavement management system.
- Develop best practices and guidelines to integrate design, material, and construction information within the pavement management system.
- Recommend procedures to guide the selection of optimum timing and treatment for pavement preservation and rehabilitation of a pavement section to achieve lowest life-cycle cost.
- Recommend procedures to comprehensively quantify the effectiveness of the pavement preservation program at the network level.