About the research
Real-time smoothness (RTS) technology is arguably one of the most impactful technologies for concrete pavement construction quality control resulting from the Second Strategic Highway Research (SHRP2) Program. Contractors participating in equipment loans through the SHRP2 Solutions Implementation Assistance Program have quickly realized the benefits of RTS for improving smoothness for as-constructed concrete pavement in order to achieve smoothness specification requirements while maximizing incentives and minimizing disincentives and corrective actions.
Over the course of implementing this technology through equipment loans and workshops, it has become apparent that additional guidance for specifying and achieving concrete pavement smoothness is needed. Many agencies struggle to understand what a reasonable specification looks like with respect to smoothness limits and incentive/disincentive levels. And frequently they do not fully understand the impacts of design factors (curvature, grade and super-elevation changes, leave-outs, etc.) and prescriptive requirements for materials, mixtures, and construction equipment, on the contractor’s ability to achieve the smoothness requirements. Likewise, many contractors do not fully understand the impacts various construction factors such as the concrete mixture, paving equipment, and paving crew, have on smoothness. They often do not understand the importance of continually checking smoothness to adjust operations to ensure the smoothness requirements for the final product are achieved.
The purpose of this project is to continue implementing RTS technology through field trials, while also using what has been learned to-date to generate guide specifications and develop best practices for concrete pavement smoothness. In short, the objective is to provide guidelines on how to specify and build smooth concrete pavements. RTS equipment demonstrations should provide contractors and agencies with a working knowledge of RTS technologies as well as an improved understanding of how material non-uniformity and paving processes impact the initial smoothness and long-term performance of portland cement concrete pavements.