Field Performance of High Friction Surfaces


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Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research


This report describes an evaluation of high friction surface (HFS) systems. The goal of this evaluation was to develop guidance for agencies when considering whether an HFS was an appropriate solution when addressing specific instances of low skid resistance and/or especially high friction demand. HFS systems are specially designed thin surface treatments that provide significant additional skid resistance of pavements and bridge decks without significantly affecting other qualities of the surface such as noise, ride quality, or durability. This report documents the location and climatic conditions where some of these systems are placed, recounts the experiences reported by the agencies that were responsible for their placement, and summarizes key HFS service-level indicators (friction and texture). The agency experiences include a sample benefit-cost analysis from an installation in Wisconsin that justified an HFS application through crash reductions that resulted following the measured increase in skid resistance. Analysis of the service-level indicators included development of the coefficients necessary to obtain the International Friction Index (IFI) values for each of the tested systems. Review of the IFI values suggested that more experiments with different types of wearing surfaces, to include HFS systems as well as more conventional surface treatments, are necessary in order to demonstrate the validity of the speed gradient and friction coefficients recommended by the ASTM standard for the IFI.



High friction surfaces, Pavement texture, Pavement friction, Bridge deck friction, Friction demand, Roadway safety


Edgar de Leon Izeppi, Gerardo W. Flintsch, and Kevin McGhee. "Field Performance of High Friction Surfaces," Virginia Transportation Research Council 530 Edgemont Road Charlottesville, VA 22903, Report No. FHWA/VTRC 10-CR6, June 2010.