Development of mechanistic-empirical pavement design in Minnesota Academic Article uri icon


  • The next AASHTO guide on pavement design will encourage a broader use of mechanistic-empirical (M-E) approaches. While M-E design is conceptually straightforward, the development and implementation of such a procedure are somewhat more complicated. The development of an M-E design procedure at the University of Minnesota, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, is described. Specifically, issues concerning mechanistic computer models, material characterization, load configuration, pavement life equations, accumulating damage, and seasonal variations in material properties are discussed. Each of these components fits into the proposed M-E design procedure for Minnesota but is entirely compartmentalized. For example, as better computer models are developed, they may simply be inserted into the design method to yield more accurate pavement response predictions. Material characterization, in terms of modulus, will rely on falling-weight deflectometer and laboratory data. Additionally, backcalculated values from the Minnesota Road Research Project will aid in determining the seasonal variation of moduli. The abundance of weigh-in-motion data will allow for more accurate load characterization in terms of load spectra rather than load equivalency. Pavement life equations to predict fatigue and rutting in conjunction with Miners hypothesis of accumulating damage are continually being refined to match observed performance in Minnesota. Ultimately, a computer program that incorporates the proposed M-E design method into a user-friendly Windows environment will be developed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Timm, D., Birgisson, B., & Newcomb, D.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Timm, D||Birgisson, B||Newcomb, D

publication date

  • January 1998