Assessment and Simplification of Pavement Environmental Effects Models on Pavement Performance

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications version 2 (MERRA-2 ) utilized data from the Earth Observing System satellites to improve precipitation and water vapor climatology beginning in 1979. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have adopted its use and translated the variables into civil engineering applications, specifically pavement design. FHWA's Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) Climate Tool provides access to the MERRA-2 database and generates site-specific climate data in compatible formats for AASHTO Pavement ME Design (Pavement ME). AASHTO will soon use MERRA-2 climatic data for AASHTOWare applications. MERRA-2 data sets include accurate hourly solar radiation values based on measured cloud-covered fractions which can significantly improve the accuracy of predicted pavement temperatures. Studies reveal challenges in matching the predictions from the Enhanced Integrated Climatic Model (EICM) with field observations and pavement performance. Variations in measurement of climatic attributes have also been reported to Operating Weather Stations (OWS). MERRA-2 data provides opportunities for enhancements to the climatic parameters and climatic module calculations for pavement design using Pavement ME. It provides improved climatology, higher frequency outputs including hourly data updates, and additional locations beyond the United States. Available data categories include: temperature, precipitation, surface pressure, cloud cover, humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation. The objectives of this project are to (1) evaluate the impact of using NASA's Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications version 2 (MERRA-2) through the FHWA LTPP Climate Tool to improve the climatic inputs and related models for Pavement ME; (2) enhance and simplify climate input parameters for Pavement ME that can be implemented by transportation agencies; and (3) develop climate-related models based on identified parameter enhancements. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objectives. The research plan should: (1) include a kick-off teleconference with the research team and NCHRP convened within 1 month of the contract's execution; (2) address the manner in which the proposer intends to satisfy the project objectives; (3) be divided logically into detailed tasks that are necessary to fulfill the research objectives and include appropriate milestones and interim deliverables; and (4) incorporate opportunities for the project panel to review, comment, and approve milestone deliverables. At a minimum, the research plan shall include the following tasks: PHASE I - Task 1. Conduct a literature review related to modeling the impact of the climatic input parameters for pavement design and application of NASA MERRA, MERRA-2, and subsequent versions in pavement design. Task 2. Assess the state of practice including challenges encountered by state transportation agencies using Pavement ME relative to climate data. Task 3. Identify limitations of existing climatic inputs and related models for Pavement ME. Task 4. Evaluate the use of MERRA-2 data from FHWA LTPP Climate Tool in the calibration of the climatic-related models used in the Pavement ME. Task 5. Based on the findings of Tasks 3 and 4, identify potential enhancements to the climatic inputs and related models for Pavement ME, using data from MERRA-2. For example, evaluate the use of MERRA-2 data that includes shortwave radiation inputs to predict pavement temperature, versus use of empirical relationships embedded in applications like the Pavement ME and LTPPBind. Task 6. Prepare an interim report that documents the work completed in Tasks 1 through 5. Include a detailed work plan for the work anticipated in Phase II.


  • English


  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-50(21)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Crichton-Sumners, Camille

  • Start Date: 0
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41743

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01640232
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-50(21)
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 1 2017 3:34AM