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Pavement smoothness index relationships. (Recent Communications Products).

Publication No. FHWA-RD-02-057

Nearly all State highway agencies use smoothness specifications to ensure that hot-mix asphalt (HMA) and portland cement concrete (PCC) pavements are built to high levels of smoothness. Not only is an initially smooth pavement generally indicative of quality workmanship, but also it has been shown to last longer than a pavement that is built with a rougher level.

About half of all current State smoothness specifications for HMA and more than three-fourths of all current PCC smoothness specifications are centered around the Profile Index (PI), as often measured using a profilograph. The vast majority of these specifications use a 5-millimeter (0.2-inch) blanking band in computing PI (i.e., P15-mm). Unfortunately, because of the technical limitations of the profilograph equipment and PI computation procedures, the adequacy of PI5-mm in characterizing roughness and having it relate to user response has come into question.

The International Roughness Index (IRI) or the PI using a 0.0-mm blanking band (PI0.0) seem to provide better measures of smoothness and better correlation with user response. However, one barrier to more widespread implementation of these new smoothness standards is the lack of objective, verifiable correlation methods for use in establishing specification limits using the IRI or PI0.0. Assistance in selecting appropriate IRI and PI0.0 specification limits is needed to provide a basis for modifying current specifications to these more reproducible and portable smoothness indices. This research effort has developed a series of relationships between IRI and PI that can assist States in transitioning to an IRI or PI0.0 smoothness specification for HMA and PCC pavements.
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Article Details
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Publication:Public Roads
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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