About the research
The Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) was developed under National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 1-37A as a novel mechanistic-empirical procedure for the analysis and design of pavements. The MEPDG was subsequently supported by AASHTO’s DARWin-ME and most recently marketed as AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design software as of February 2013. Although the core design process and computational engine have remained the same over the years, some enhancements to the pavement performance prediction models have been implemented along with other documented changes as the MEPDG transitioned to AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design software.
Preliminary studies were carried out to determine possible differences between AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design, MEPDG (version 1.1), and DARWin-ME (version 1.1) performance predictions for new jointed plain concrete pavement (JPCP), new hot mix asphalt (HMA), and HMA over JPCP systems. Differences were indeed observed between the pavement performance predictions produced by these different software versions. Further investigation was needed to verify these differences and to evaluate whether identified local calibration factors from the latest MEPDG (version 1.1) were acceptable for use with the latest version (version 2.1.24) of AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design at the time this research was conducted.
Therefore, the primary objective of this research was to examine AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design performance predictions using previously identified MEPDG calibration factors (through InTrans Project 11-401) and, if needed, refine the local calibration coefficients of AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design pavement performance predictions for Iowa pavement systems using linear and nonlinear optimization procedures. A total of 130 representative sections across Iowa consisting of JPCP, new HMA, and HMA over JPCP sections were used. The local calibration results of AASHTOWare Pavement ME Design are presented and compared with national and locally calibrated MEPDG models.