Improved Climatic Data for Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design

Blue Ridge Parkway

Project Description

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has adopted the AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design software in an effort to improve pavement design for North Carolina roads. A critical component of the software is the Enhanced Integrated Climatic Model (EICM), which accounts for environmental effects. The EICM requires hourly historical climate records for the entire expected lifespan of the road. NCDOT presently has access only to small 5-year samples of climatological data from select locations. These short records must be repeated to fill in data for long analysis periods, yet studies have shown that repeating small samples of climatic data may adversely affect pavement performance predictions. This research effort will develop long-term, high-quality, hourly data files for multiple locations across North Carolina. Statistical procedures will help to fill in gaps in the hourly data. A sensitivity analysis will assess the impact of the improved climatic data files on pavement performance predictions by the mechanistic-empirical design software. Ultimately, the improved climatic data will boost confidence in pavement performance predictions.

Project Updates

North Carolina's Public Liberal Arts University