“Pavement structural health” refers a highway’s capability to meet the demands placed on it by traffic and other service conditions for safe, reliable, and efficient mobility. The notion of structural health as a measure of system performance necessarily has something to do with the pavement’s likely ability over some specified minimum time period to carry specified numbers and types of vehicles without requiring substantial remedial action, but currently there is no widely accepted measure of pavement structural health.
Previous NCHRP research has suggested that generally acceptable measures may be available—for example, see NCHRP Report 551: Performance Measures and Targets for Transportation Asset Management, NCHRP Report 632: An Asset-Management Framework for the Interstate Highway System, NCHRP Report 666 Target-Setting Methods and Data Management to Support Performance-Based Resource Allocation by Transportation Agencies, and NCHRP Report 677 Development of Levels of Service for the Interstate Highway System—but adoption of one or a small set of measures will require that DOTs reach consensus. Research completed for the Federal Highway Administration indicates that it may be possible to translate different DOTs’ pavement health measures to use them in a common framework for assessing system performance. (See Improving FHWA’s Ability to Assess
Highway Infrastructure Health: Pilot Study Report.)
The objectives of this project were to (a) review specific measures used by DOTs for measurement of pavement structural health, (b) compare and assess the suitability of selected measures to be used more widely to characterize system performance regarding pavement structural health, (c) recruit DOTs to participate in demonstrating how pavement structural health may be compared among states.