Advanced Pavement Design

Advanced Airport Pavement Design

Durable, long-life pavements are important in controlling the costs of operating the National Aviation System. In addition to annual expenditures of approximately two billion dollars on pavements - a significant portion coming from the Aviation Trust Fund - pavement outages and downtime for maintenance and rehabilitation contribute to the costs associated with aviation system delays. It is therefore reasonable for the Government to protect its investment.

Airport pavement R&D has been able to "lean on" the much larger field of highway research for many years, and to some extent, still does. Until recently, the FAA has also profited from DOD research supporting military aircraft. At the present time, however, the largest aircraft production are civil aircraft with weights exceeding military aircraft and, of course, exceeding highway vehicles by an order of magnitude. There is still ample opportunity for the FAA to share and benefit from pavement R&D of these sources, but in the field of design and evaluation, the FAA must take on new leadership responsibilities.

In April 1993, the FAA published an essential Airport Pavement Research and Development plan, Airport Pavements - Solutions for Tomorrow's Aircraft, to deal with the increasing needs of civil aviation industries. Through executing this plan, the FAA is introducing modern design and evaluation procedures that concentrate on long-life airport pavements for existing, as well as new and heavier aircraft. The structured approach is based on sound theoretical principles and full-scale validation tests. It takes advantage of today's enhanced computer computational abilities and provides the flexibility to deal with new, complex landing gear configurations that were never contemplated when the traditional, chart-based design procedures were developed. Executing the plan will reaffirm FAA's leadership responsibilities as a key player in the aerospace industry.

Research projects conducted in this program area include:

LEDFAA - Layered Elastic Design

FAARFIELD - 3D Finite Element Based Design procedure

DIA Instrumented Pavement Project

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Instrumented Pavement Project

Contact Project Lead:     

Dr. David Brill, ANG-E262

Last Update: 04/03/12