FAA continuously evaluates the needs and challenges of our nation’s airports and the national airspace system. The FAA Airport Technology Research & Development Branch (ATR) research plans provide an overview of the various program areas for pavement and safety research. Since the last major update of the research plans, innovative practices and technologies have given rise to new research focused on:
- Safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and other emerging entrants into the national airspace
- Using eco-friendly foam to put out aircraft fires
the use of autonomous aviation vehicles and services at airport, leading to
smart airport concepts
- Building resilient airport infrastructure systems
that can withstand climate change and severe weather
sustainable solutions for airports
By evaluating new methods and technologies,
research conducted by ATR supports the FAA’s mission to provide
the safest, most efficient aerospace
system in the world. ATR research informs the policies, standards, and
regulatory guidance needed to meet the
evolving demands of industry, not only in the United States, but around
FAA AIRPORT PAVEMENT 2030 RESEARCH PLAN
Through active airport pavement research, FAA will
continue to provide the guidance
required to ensure longer lasting pavements
that can carry the aircraft traffic of today and tomorrow safely and
efficiently with minimum rehabilitation and reconstruction over the pavement
design life. ATR’s Airport Pavement Research & Development Section
maintains a rolling 10-year plan that identifies and responds to the challenges
facing the FAA, commercial, state and regional airport systems, airport
operators, airlines, aircraft manufacturers, airport consultants and
The research plan encompasses
four focus areas, which are directly related to the strategic plans of the FAA
Office of Airport Safety and Standards and the U.S. Department of
Transportation. Focus areas address distinct issues and concerns of the
airfield pavement stakeholders at large and support the mission of the ATR and
the Office of Airports.
2030 Research Plan Focus Areas
1. Pavement Design: continue work on doubling airport pavement life
from its current requirement of a 20-year design life.
2. Pavement Materials: promote the use of sustainable, environmentally
friendly pavement materials, and improve the pavement design model to better
relate to in-service pavement performance.
3. Pavement Evaluations: decrease transportation-related serious injuries
and fatalities by updating the guidance and software related to minimizing Foreign
Object Debris (FOD), decreasing pavement roughness, improving skid resistance,
and hydroplaning, and evaluating pavement failure using Nondestructive Testing
4. Special Projects include:
a. Completing the evaluation of heated pavement systems for winter operations to improve safety.
the use of geosynthetics within the pavement structure to meet industry demands
for standards to optimize pavement thickness design and to allow the use of
more environmentally friendly materials.
the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for airfield pavements, which is an approach
for quantifying environmental impacts, energy use, and finite resource
depletion over the life cycle (from cradle to grave).
Download the full FAA Airport Pavement 2030 Research Plan here.
FAA AIRPORT SAFETY RESEARCH PLAN UNDER DEVELOPMENT
ATR is currently developing a research plan for
Airport Safety that will help outline the safe integration of new technologies
into our nation’s airports.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED RESEARCH PLANS