Improvements in Pavement Research with Accelerated Load Testing
Gregers Hildebrand (DK)
, Danish Road Institute
Fax: +45 46 30 71 05
Mr. Mr. Andrew Dawson (UK)
University of Nottingham, School of Civil Engineering
Pavement and Geotechnics Division
+44 115 951 3898
Mr. Magnus Carle
Directorate General for Energy and Transport
Fax: +32 2 296 37 65
3.5 Years, to April 2004.
16 COST Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The main objective of the Action is to develop a European code of good practice to optimise the use of Accelerated Load Testing facilities and improve the application of results from these facilities.
The common code of good practice will improve the efficiency and quality of ALT use in Europe, and research results will become available and useable on a broad basis to the benefit of owners of ALT facilities as well as non-owner organisations.
The necessary basis for achieving the primary objective of the Action is a comprehensive review of existing European Accelerated Load Testing (ALT) facilities and related research. This will be done as an inventory of ALT facilities and full-scale laboratory testing facilities in use throughout Europe and will include a description of each facility, of its main characteristics and capabilities, as well as its instrumentation. The information collection will provide a comparison of the different ALT facilities, and allow an innovative evaluation of their mutual correlations.
The overview of previous and current research carried out with ALT and full-scale laboratory testing will emphasise materials research, performance models and pavement design. This work will result in a state-of-the-art report detailing current ALT based research in Europe, and a proposal for a future ALT research results database will be developed.
Another important and innovative aspect of the Action is to analyse and link results from ALT research to materials and performance models obtained from Real-time Load Testing (RLT) sections. This work will investigate the importance of inherent differences between ALT and RLT, and specify fields of mutual interest for the two types of tests.
At this point in the Action it is possible to give recommendations for future ALT research and for the optimal use of specific ALT facilities. As a result, a common code of good practice for the use of ALT will be developed, from which users can benefit in terms of efficient use of facilities and interchangeability of results from different facilities. A common code of good practice would be suggested, both for existing and future ALT facilities.
New aspects of the use of ALT facilities will be analysed considering new types of pavement materials, and new techniques for measuring pavement response, as well as pavement condition evaluation. Furthermore, as the emphasis in road management all over Europe shifts from the construction of new roads towards more maintenance and concern for the environment, the Action will recommend future ALT research which considers different pavement maintenance techniques and it will discuss how environmental issues relevant to pavements could be tested in ALT facilities.
The final part of the Action is devoted to dissemination, which will comprise exploitation of results obtained as part of the Action, information about these results, as well as the Final Report. Dissemination of the outcome of the Action is expected to reach research institutes, road authorities and private entities in Europe and abroad.
Seven Work Packages have been identified, each (except from the Work Package concerned with management of the Action) producing one of the following deliverables:
- A database containing an inventory of existing ALT facilities operating in Europe and those planned to be operating in the near future including a SWOT-analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of the different facilities.
- A state-of-the-art report describing previous and current research being undertaken in ALT facilities in Europe and internationally. Development of a structure for a future European ALT research results database.
A comparison of the use of ALT facilities compared to RLT sections (
including a SWOT-analysis).
- A common code of good practice for the use of ALT in the short term and in the future.
- A catalogue of new, innovative research topics to be tested in ALT facilities.
- Final Report of the Action.
It is estimated that each year, around 15% of the incomes of European citizens (approximately 500 billion Euro) are spent on mobility, and the majority of mobility is supported by road infrastructure. Investment in road construction and maintenance in Europe is therefore at a very high level and any improvements will have a significant effect on the overall cost benefit analysis. An important way of analysing road pavements or maintenance options before commencing the expensive process of road construction is ALT, and this has traditionally been carried out at specially designed facilities in most European countries.
Many of the ALT facilities and resources in the EU are under the management of organisations involved in the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories (FEHRL), which enables enhanced co-ordination between the approaches taken in different countries. The main facilities currently in operation are in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Although the benefits always substantially outweigh the costs, the facilities are expensive to install and operate. Consequently, there is a need to ensure that they are used with maximum efficiency, which is one of the aims of this COST action.
Benefits to Different Types of Users
The principal users of the results from the Action will be pavement researchers. Common European testing standards for ALT facilities will improve the efficiency of testing, and research results will become interchangeable and thus results can be applied by all countries including those that do not own facilities for accelerated pavement tests. Among the secondary benefits to the scientific sector are transfer of knowledge between European researchers, as well as co-operation between European researchers and researchers outside Europe.
For road authorities the benefits of the Action will include improved methods for pavement design with lower associated life-cycle costs. Transfer of knowledge between European road authorities is also an outcome of the Action.
For the general public the major benefit of the Action will be better roads at lower costs.