A software tool developed by the Federal Highway Administrations Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program saved highway agencies $50 million last year in state highway construction costs, according to the U.S. DOT.
The software, known as LTPPBind, helps paving engineers accurately determine the grade of asphalt cement needed for their specific environmental conditions. Using the right asphalt cement can reduce the need to apply modified binders, which increase the cost of construction.
"LTPP research is significantly advancing the pavement engineering process nationwide," FHWA Administrator Mary Peters said. "The better the process, the better the product. Thats why the LTPP investment is so essentialit yields the kind of substantive, long-lasting improvements the public expects for its transportation dollars."
The LTPP program was initiated in 1987 as a 20-year program, and the total investment to date is about $187 million.
The LTPP program involves collecting and analyzing data that accurately describe how and why pavements perform as they do. The results are being used to improve pothole patching, pavement evaluation and other aspects of highway pavement design, construction and maintenance.
LTPP research is being incorporated into a book on designing pavements titled "2002 Design Guide" being developed by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The guides developers estimate that following the guides new procedures could result in annual pavement rehabilitation savings of $1 billion.