Still In Good Health?

Nastaran Saadatmand / November 19, 2010

From rural roadways to urban thoroughfares, get a true picture of your pavement’s health with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) new Pavement Health Track (PHT) Analysis Tool.

Developed for FHWA by Battelle and Applied Research Associates, the tool offers the ability to determine the health of your pavement network in terms of the pavement’s remaining service life (RSL) based on rideability and pavement distresses. Pavement health can be determined for different pavement types under various conditions such as climate or the type of environment, with applications ranging from individual projects to state corridors to highway networks.

His and HERS
The PHT Analysis Tool uses pavement-performance models developed by FHWA for the Highway Economic Requirements System (HERS) and the National Pavement Cost Models. These pavement performance models are simplified versions of the models and procedures used in the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials’ Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide. While there are many methods of determining RSL, for the purpose of the tool, RSL is defined as the life of the pavement from the present until it no longer provides an acceptable level of service. RSL can be reported as both the weighted average RSL of all distresses or as the RSL for one particular distress for a given section of pavement or the entire network.

To use the tool, inputs are required from the Highway Performance Monitoring System 2010 pavement data, or a state has the option of using data from its pavement-management-system database.

The software also provides an option to input data on material properties, climate and loading to predict the future remaining service life of the pavement. If this data is not available, the program offers a compiled data set that uses data from such sources as the FHWA Long-Term Pavement Performance program and National Climate Data Center databases as default inputs.

Users also are asked to specify criteria such as their thresholds for distress and deficiency levels to reflect their agency’s policies on the conditions that trigger maintenance and rehabilitation of rigid, flexible and composite pavements.

The analysis tool offers users an array of charts, geographic information system maps and reports that can easily be customized. A “wizard” tool takes users through the various options available for each type of report, chart and map, and performs data filtering, sorting and aggregation.

The primary data provided are the number of years until the terminal values for various distresses and the International Roughness Index (IRI) have been reached and the predicted distresses and IRI at the end of the weighted average RSL.

Potential future expansion of the tool’s features, based on user feedback, could include adding the ability to develop and display the bridge health index for a particular corridor and to estimate pavement-asset values, the impact of different maintenance and rehabilitation plans on RSL and reconstruction needs. Future features also could include the ability to detect uneven distribution of RSL, integrate benefit and cost models from HERS and use state-specific pavement models or calibrated pavement-performance coefficients.

To obtain your copy of the PHT Analysis Tool today or for more information, contact FHWA at 202.366.1337; e-mail: [email protected].

About the Author

Saadatmand is a member of the System Management and Monitoring Team in FHWA’s Office of Asset Management.

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