Future Research and Objectives



The FAA’s Airport Technology Research (ATR) Pavement Research and Development Section’s function is to ensure the safety, capacity, and efficiency of U.S. airports. The testing, evaluation, and analysis performed by the ATR is done to promote longer-lasting, more cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly pavements. Such advancement is required, as the demands on aircraft and airports is always increasing for both passenger and freight travel. The ATR always strives for future progress with its research.


The ATR has four areas of focus, with potential technologies being explored for each:

  • Pavement Design: The main avenue for advancement of pavement design is increasing the design life from 20 years to 40 years. This requires long-term pavement testing and software production.
  • Pavement Materials: Improvement in pavement materials calls for the testing and characterization of new advanced materials, such as nanoparticles.
  • Pavement Evaluation: Progression in pavement evaluation has many areas of interest, including development of methods for pavement capacity assessment and prediction, improvement in testing speed and accuracy, and updates to standards.
  • Special Projects: Each special project is unique and explores new technologies or innovative ideas. Some examples are heated pavements for winter use, pavement with geosynthetics, and a life cycle assessment program.



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