Network-level pavement management systems are typically performed using only surface distress measurements. However, it is commonly accepted that the pavement structural capacity has a major effect on the rate of deterioration. Consequently, it is critical in forecasting future pavement conditions to know the structural capacity. Techniques currently available to estimate structural capacity from deflections are time consuming and require an experienced analyst. Additionally, these techniques may provide more detail than is necessary for network-level decisions. As a result, use of pavement deflections in network-level analysis has been limited, even in those agencies that use a falling weight deflectometer extensively in their project-level testing. Results of this research would also have applications for agencies that do not use deflection testing in their pavement management systems; a simplified index describing structural performance would be useful in comparing project segments or in project selection. Using Long-Term Pavement Performance and other data should define the test spacing necessary to implement the technique(s) required to use pavement deflection data in a network-level pavement management system.
The key project objective is to develop an approach for incorporating techniques to interpret and evaluate deflection data for network-level pavement management system (PMS) applications.