A review of pavement roughness criteria for 10 KPH two-way two-lane rural roads

Holden, Andrew Philip (2002). A review of pavement roughness criteria for 10 KPH two-way two-lane rural roads B.Sc Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2015.1113

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Author Holden, Andrew Philip
Thesis Title A review of pavement roughness criteria for 10 KPH two-way two-lane rural roads
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2015.1113
Publication date 2002
Thesis type B.Sc Thesis
Supervisor Phil Charles
Total pages 32
Language eng
Subjects 0905 Civil Engineering
Formatted abstract
Speed zoning of Queensland’s state-controlled road network is determined in accordance with Part 4 of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), a publication produced by the Queensland Department of Main Roads.

As part of the ‘Additional/Desirable Criteria’ for 110 kph zones, the limit for the pavement roughness count is 120 NRM (NAASRA Roughness Meter counts). Roughness counts are generally measured in 10m increments over the length of a road, and may vary widely between increments. Thus, it is not unusual for the limit to be exceeded by some segments along a road. However, since this limit is included as an additional criterion, the road manager is implicitly given some allowance in deciding whether roughness levels are excessive or not.

In the last year or so, the question has been raised of how meaningful this roughness limit is and how strictly it should be observed. To address this question, an investigation of the effect pavement roughness has on the performance of road transportation networks and the basis for applying a roughness limit specifically to 110 kph roads was undertaken. This investigation consisted of a literature review to determine current knowledge of the area, and an examination of crash and roughness data for state-controlled roads within Southern Region.

Two major aspects of a road transportation system directly affected by high pavement roughness were identified:
(a) road safety, and
(b) economic costs

Based on economic considerations, little evidence was found to support the selective implementation of a roughness limit on roads governed by a 110 kph speed limit rather than roads under a 100 kph limit, particularly for rural areas. This is simply because the likely difference in vehicle speeds under the higher speed limit is small enough to have negligible influence on pavement life, particularly in consideration of the low traffic volumes experienced by rural roads.

In terms of road safety, it is intuitive from a first-principles examination of roughness effects to expect that a network approach to managing roughness should be taken. However, an examination of road safety data leads to the probably conclusion that road safety is best managed in terms of local failure points in the system (black spots) rather than as a continuous function of system-wide parameters. Thus, there is little statistical evidence to support the use of a general limit on roughness for 110 kph two-way, two-lane rural roads.
An expansion of the data analysis to include all 110 kph two-way two-lane rural roads in Queensland is required to confirm or disprove the preliminary findings of this study before a conclusive decision can be made.

A complete review of 110 kph speed limit criteria currently being undertaken by the Department of Main Roads is expected to provide further information regarding this particular issue, among a broader range of criteria.
Keyword pavement
road safety
Road Maintenance

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - Open Access
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