Practical Issues in Implementation of Mechanistic Empirical Design for Concrete Pavements

Project Details







Shuvo Islam, Abu Sufian, Mustaque Hossain, Nat Valasquez Jr.


Kansas Department of Transportation


Calibration, Concrete pavements, Mechanistic-empirical pavement design, Pavement distress, Pavement joints, Slabs, Structural models, Unreinforced concrete

Project description

This study was undertaken to locally calibrate and implement the models for a mechanistic-empirical design guide (MEPDG) for jointed plain concrete pavement (JPCP) sections. Twenty-two newly constructed JPCP projects were selected to calibrate the rigid pavement models—17 for calibration and 5 for validation. The traditional split sampling method was followed in calibration. MEPDG-predicted distress of road segments was compared with the measured distress. Statistical analysis was performed using the Microsoft Excel statistical toolbox. The JPCP transverse joint faulting model was calibrated using sensitivity analysis and iterative runs of the MEPDG software to determine optimal coefficients that minimized the bias. The International Roughness Index (IRI) model was calibrated using the generalized reduced gradient nonlinear optimization technique in Microsoft Excel Solver. The transverse slab cracking model could not be calibrated due to lack of measured cracking data. Eleven prospective and two in-service JPCP sections with varying design traffic levels were reanalyzed using traditional empirical and new MEPDG design methods. The results showed that the traditional empirical design method yielded higher slab thickness than the MEPDG method for projects with high traffic levels. However, thinner slab thicknesses were obtained by the traditional empirical design method for projects with low to medium traffic.