Life-Cycle Cost Minimization and Sensitivity Analysis for Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design

Mark McDonald, Samer Madanat

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Rebuilding and maintaining the nation's highway infrastructure will require very large capital outlays for many years to come. While the expenditures involved in the maintenance and construction of highway facilities are large, current methods of pavement design used in common engineering practice do not routinely take advantage of design optimization methodologies. This paper presents an optimization formulation for mechanistic-empirical pavement design that minimizes life-cycle costs associated with the construction and maintenance of flexible pavements. Sensitivity analysis is performed on the model to understand how the optimal design changes with respect to variations in the critical design inputs. Using typical values for the costs associated with the construction of each pavement layer and the reconstruction of failed pavement sections, it is determined that extended-life flexible pavements may provide significant life-cycle cost savings despite their higher initial construction cost. However, perpetual pavements that control critical strains to levels near the fatigue and endurance limits for the hot mix asphalt (HMA) and subgrade soil should be designed only when traffic levels are sufficiently high to warrant them or when sufficient uncertainty exists in the mean values of design input probability distributions. Optimization studies performed under uncertainty have showed that designs for extended-life pavements are robust with respect to physical variability in material properties, but are significantly impacted by a lack of knowledge of probability distributions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)706-713
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Transportation Engineering
    Volume138
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 8 2012

    Fingerprint

    Pavements
    life cycle
    Sensitivity analysis
    Life cycle
    costs
    Costs
    uncertainty
    endurance
    fatigue
    Probability distributions
    savings
    expenditures
    reconstruction
    traffic
    infrastructure
    engineering
    lack
    methodology
    Asphalt
    Values

    Keywords

    • Design optimization
    • Extended-life pavement
    • Life-cycle cost
    • Perpetual pavement
    • Sensitivity analysis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Transportation

    Cite this

    Life-Cycle Cost Minimization and Sensitivity Analysis for Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design. / McDonald, Mark; Madanat, Samer.

    In: Journal of Transportation Engineering, Vol. 138, No. 6, 08.06.2012, p. 706-713.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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