Sensitivity Analysis of Input Traffic Levels on Mechanistic-Empirical Design Guide Predictions

The newly developed Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) addresses traffic loads in a different manner than its predecessors. Instead of converting all axles to a common reference axle (e.g. 18-kip Equivalent Single Axle Load (ESAL)), the MEPDG considers each axle or axle combination in the damage calculation, and hence in the predicted service life. Although this is sounder from an engineering standpoint than the use of a common reference axle, it requires very detailed traffic data. If an agency does not have the detailed (Level 1) traffic data required, the default (Level 3) values provided by MEPDG can be used. This paper presents the results of a sensitivity analysis study performed to identify the impact on the accumulated damage, and hence the predicted service life, of using Level 3 traffic data compared with using Level 1 traffic data. In this analysis, three Specific Pavement Study (SPS) sections in New Jersey were modeled in MEPDG. Seven MEPDG runs were performed for each section. In the first run Level 3 traffic was used; in the seventh run Level 1 traffic was used for all parameters. In Runs 2 to 5, Level 3 traffic was used along with Level 1 traffic for only one traffic parameter, such as axle weight. This paper examines the analysis results, which in some cases showed very significant differences when Level 1 data was used rather than Level 3. Some possible reasons for these differences are suggested and their potential implications for the MEPDG user are discussed.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 33p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 85th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01026211
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 06-0937
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jun 29 2006 7:39AM