Use of High-Speed Deflection Devices in Network-Level PMS Applications: Are We Ready?
Rada, Gonzalo R.
Visintine, Beth A.
Siddharthan, Rajaratnam V.
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As highway agencies begin to consider structural adequacy as part of their routine pavement management activities by incorporating deflection testing, it is important to advance from falling weight deflectometers (FWDs) to a more viable alternative for network-level applications. The development of devices that measure pavement deflections at traffic speeds represents this viable alternative. The modern versions of the devices include the Greenwood Traffic Speed Deflectometer (TSD) and the Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) Rolling Wheel Deflectometer (RWD), but are these devices ready for implementation? To answer this question, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) undertook a study whose objective was to establish a reliable measure of the structural condition of pavements as it deteriorates over time under traffic and environmental loading, based on deflection measurements taken at traffic speeds. As part of the study, a literature review was conducted and questionnaires were developed for and provided to device manufacturers, owners and users, which were then followed-up by interviews. Both devices were found to be viable, so a work plan was developed and implemented to evaluate them. The work plan included field-testing and analysis activities, but it purposely did not contemplate comparisons with Falling Weight deflectometers (FWDs). This paper presents the major findings, conclusions and recommendations from the project effort to date. The only remaining activity is the development of processes for incorporating pavement structural information within pavement management system (PMS) applications.