Sensitivity analysis of input parameters for pavement design and reliability Academic Article uri icon


  • The reliability of a certain pavement design can be related directly to the variation of the input parameters and loading conditions the design process incorporates. To compare different designs using different materials that meet the same design criteria, it is important that the design process evaluate variability between designs in the same manner. It is under this premise that a rational, mechanistic pavement design process for different pavement types is required and hence introduced. These mechanistic pavement design approaches lend themselves well to probabilistic concepts, particularly in light of calibration procedures that can be used to significantly improve the accuracy of design results and desired levels of reliability. When design alternatives that evaluate reliability consistently are compared, it is important to know which variable inputs have the most impact on the range of any given level of reliability. A sensitivity analysis can be useful in assessing the effect on any given input parameter on the resulting design (i.e., mean value and increase in distress for a given level of reliability). This type of exercise will identify design values that must be carefully selected and that can have a significant impact on the design result. This will ensure that consistent levels of reliability are maintained in the design process and that reasonable judgments will be made with respect to the most cost-effective pavements.

published proceedings

  • Transportation Research Record

author list (cited authors)

  • Killingsworth, B. M., & Zollinger, D. G.

complete list of authors

  • Killingsworth, BM||Zollinger, DG

publication date

  • July 1995