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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effect of Performance Model Accuracy on Optimal Pavement Design


In the first part of this paper, an analysis of the data collected during the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) Road Test, based on probabilistic duration modeling techniques, is presented. Duration techniques enable the stochastic nature of pavement failure time to be evaluated as well as censored data to be incorporated in the statistical estimation of the model parameters. The second part of this paper presents the use of economic optimization principles for determining the optimal design of flexible pavements. We study the effect of deterioration model accuracy on optimal design and lifecycle costs, by comparing three models. The first is a simple regression model developed by the AASHO, which forms the basis of design standards in use today. The second is a regression model that was developed with the same AASHO data set, but that includes a correction for data censoring. The third model is the probabilistic model developed in the first part of this paper. The results show that the AASHO model, when used as an input to lifecycle cost minimization, produces a pavement structural number that is lower than that produced by using the other two deterioration models. This results in shorter pavement lives and higher costs due to more frequent resurfacing. The savings in lifecycle cost accrued by using optimal structural number are shown to be quite significant, offering a sound basis for revising current design practices.

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