What does this PhD research aim to tackle?

Texture levels and surface characteristics greatly influence road functionality and affect user's safety and comfort, vehicle operating costs, and environmental sustainability. Additionally, the cumulative vehicle's passages on the pavement are a determinant factor influencing pavement surface characteristics leading to deterioration.
This PhD research assesses the correlation between damage phenomena and texture levels of the road surface with surface characteristics, such as road traffic noise and skid resistance, and pavement service life. 

How to achieve that?

  • In-situ monitoring of test tracks: 

Several test tracks have been installed over the last couple of years as part of RERS' projects. These test tracks will be monitored for a longer time, mainly by focusing on changes in the pavement surface characteristics, the occurrence of damage phenomena, and analyzing the remaining structural capacity.

  • Impact of noise-reducing measures and degradation of the road surface on traffic noise levels and annoyance: 

The acoustical performance and the actual service of a test track composed of a thin noise-reducing asphalt layer (TAL), constructed as part of the STOLA project, will be further investigated to gain insights into the degradation behaviour of such surface type. The analysis of traffic noise levels will be complemented by analyzing the noise spectra and psycho-acoustic parameters such as loudness, roughness, and sharpness.
Noise-reducing measures such as noise screens, vegetation belts, or earth dams will be investigated, both in situ as simulated in IMMI noise mapping software. In some cases, surveys will be used to assess the actual impact of the noise-reducing measures.

  • Assessment of remaining service life: 

Using data available from FWD measurements or the ARAN, a back-calculation method is used to determine the elastic modulus and remaining predicted service life. These data will be used to further improve and validate the current evolution curves used in the pavement management system by the Flemish government.