Characterization and Quantification of Traffic Load Spectra in Texas Overweight Corridors and Energy Sector Zones: Final Report

Energy-related activities such as natural gas and crude oil production in Texas have created large volumes of overweight (OW) truck operations, resulting in expedited deterioration and premature failure of transportation infrastructures. This project’s primary goal was to develop a database of the site-specific axle load spectra for energy corridors in South Texas. The secondary goal was to establish a mechanistic framework, based on the axle load spectra, to quantify the pavement damages associated with the OW truck operations. The primary step for the mechanistic quantification of the damages imparted on pavement facilities was accurate characterization of the traffic operations in energy developing zones. Therefore, our research team deployed portable weight-in-motion devices in summer 2018 and winter 2019 to ten representative sites in the Eagle Ford Shale region. The results were synthesized to compile the axle load spectra database. Subsequently, the research team developed a novel framework for the quantification of the pavement damages associated with OW truck operations in the field. A series of non-destructive tests were conducted in the field to develop a database of pavement layers characteristics. Using the site-specific information regarding the traffic loading data and pavement material properties, this study developed new sets of damage equivalency factors, specifically tailored towards the unique features of the network. The proposed mechanistic approach revealed that the modified damage factors were substantially higher compared to the traditional industry-standard axle load factors. Further investigation of the contribution of the climatic factors and pavement profiles underscored the significance of these components for accurate assessment of the damage equivalency factors. In a separate effort, our research team established a framework for mechanistic evaluation of the reduction of the expected service life of pavements due to changes in the traffic characteristics post energy-developing era. Numerical simulations, cross validated by field design and maintenance plans, indicated that the majority of the studied sections sustained substantial loss of service life due to changes in traffic patterns. The reduction of the service life was appreciably higher for less robust pavement sections, such as FM roads, compared to the SH and US highways. Ultimately, the research team developed a web-based module for the visualization of the findings of the project and further use by districts across the state.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Technical Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 192p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01723453
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/TX-19/0-6965-1, TX 0-6965-01
  • Contract Numbers: Project No. 0-6965
  • Created Date: Nov 22 2019 4:48PM