Better Roads Staff
Concrete ‘Road Map’ Not Set in Stone
Stakeholder Needs Take Concrete ‘Road Map’ in New Directions
By Tom Kuennen, Contributing Editor
The CP Road Map, formally the Long-Term Plan for Concrete Pavement Research and Technology – first articulated to the industry at the Transportation Research Board meeting in January 2006 – is fine-tuning its direction and experiencing a few course corrections as research meets reality in a changing environment for concrete pavement studies.
The refreshed program is symbolized by a new logo which demonstrates how different pieces of a puzzle come together to form a solid pavement.
Under the aegis of the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (National CP Tech Center) at Iowa State University – which provides operations support services to the CP Road Map program – the CP Road Map is in the fourth year of a 10-year strategic plan that outlines approximately $250 million in needed concrete pavement research.
While the CP Road Map articulates a broad variety of research needs, local budgets and sheer necessity has curtailed the scope of ongoing research activity from coast to coast.
Now, seven active tracks (of 13 total) are active, dubbed Priority Tracks in the CP Road Map literature. These are:
Track 1: Performance-Based Concrete Pavement Mix Design System
Track 2: Performance-Based Design Guide for New and Rehabilitated Concrete Pavements
Track 3: High-Speed Nondestructive Testing and Intelligent Construction Systems
Track 4: Optimized Surface Characteristics for Safe, Quiet, and Smooth Concrete Pavements
Track 7: High-Speed Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation and Construction
Track 11: Concrete Pavement Business Systems and Economics, and
Track 13: Concrete Pavement Sustainability.
In abeyance in 2010 are:
Track 5: Equipment Automation and Advancements
Track 6: Innovative Concrete Pavement Joint Design, Materials and Construction
Track 8: Long-Life Concrete Pavements
Track 9: Concrete Pavement Accelerated and Long-Term Data Collection
Track 10: Concrete Pavement Performance, and
Track 12: Advanced Concrete Pavement Materials.
Even as some tracks fell into abeyance, in 2007 a new priority track was instituted – Concrete Pavement Sustainability.
“A couple of years ago, our executive committee decided that we needed to focus on sustainable engineering products, and to develop an additional track for the Road Map that put real focus on environmental sustainability,” Cackler told Better Roads. “There is a lot of individual research that is cross-cutting among all our tracks, but we were able to extract those to specifically ensure that sustainable concrete pavement practices were being addressed in its own track.”
The Road Map is a living document that should not be carved in stone, but should be altered to include new tracks like sustainability, Cackler said. “It’s an agile Road Map that can adjust to needs,” he said. “Right now, we are taking a similar approach that will address rehabilitation and maintenance, which is important because of the financial bind that agencies are in right now.” But the program will be enlarged in the future.
The sustainability topic is so “hot” right now that an International Conference on Sustainable Concrete Pavements: Practices, Challenges and Directions will be held Sept. 15–17 in Sacramento, Calif.
Organized by FHWA and the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center, and cosponsored by a variety of other organizations, including AASHTO, the conference will provide an international forum in which to discuss the sustainable attributes of concrete pavements via existing technologies, emerging research, approaches to measuring energy and environmental impact, user needs, and international practices and experience.