BACKGROUND: Forensic investigations of highway pavements are generally conducted to (1) investigate underlying causes of premature pavement failures; (2) understand the factors contributing to exceptional pavement performance and longevity; and (3) collect data to support development and/or calibration of performance prediction models. Although forensic investigations have frequently been conducted by highway agencies, these investigations have often been conducted following different practices and have focused on a specific issue making it difficult to use the generated data in other studies. There are no widely accepted guidelines for conducting these investigations that consider relevant factors, such as functional and structural performance, material-related distress, pavement type, sampling and testing requirements, and sequence of activities. Research is needed to develop guidelines for conducting forensic investigations of highway pavements that consider relevant factors and facilitate implementation. These guidelines will help highway agencies conduct cost-effective investigations that will enhance understanding of pavement performance and provide the necessary data for improving pavement design and analysis procedures.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this research was to develop guidelines for conducting forensic investigations of highway pavements. These investigations are generally concerned with acquiring and evaluating data to (1) identify the cause(s) of premature pavement failure; (2) understand the factors contributing to longevity of pavements; and (3) document/understand observed performance and support development and/or calibration of performance prediction models [e.g., for use in local calibration of the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG)].
Status: Research is complete; the final report has been published as NCHRP Report 747 available at: