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Mechanistic-Empirical Design

Asphalt pavement technology has changed dramatically in the last two decades. The advent of QC/QA procedures brought a recognition that control of product variation resulted in product improvement. The develpment and implementation of the Superpave binder specifications and mixture design system have provided the industry with a more uniform and, generally, a more thorough materials selection and proportioning method. The next change in technology will be the introduction of an improved method for designing the pavement structure.


This series of articles is intended to introduce the concepts of mechanistic pavement design and to discuss its features.


Many agencies are implementing or considering implementing mechanistic-empirical pavement design guide (MEPDG) tools, primarily AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design, to develop and validate their designs. As with other pavement design methods, close attention must be paid to the local calibration of variables within MEPDG software to ensure that roads are not over- or underdesigned for local conditions or needs. Several mechanistic-empirical tools are available to aid in the development of long-life asphalt pavements (also known as Perpetual Pavements), including PerRoad and PerRoadXpress. A series of five webinars, conducted in 2013 by leading asphalt paving technologists, is available to help officials with calibration.