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Context Sensitive Pavement Design for Low Volume Road Applications


Two-thirds of roads in North America and more than 90% of all the roads in the world are unsurfaced or are lightly surfaced low to medium volume roads. Low to medium volume roads tend to have a greater social and environmental impact as compared to high volume roads because they connect small towns and rural communities, serve as farm-to-market/forest-tomarket roads, and provide links to parks and recreational areas. These impacts must be included in the planning and design phases of these roads to ensure that they do not disrupt the delicate balance of wildlife habitats, and natural viewscapes of woodlands, forests and agricultural lands. In this context, federal and state/provincial agencies and other transportation organizations have pioneered the concept of context-sensitive solutions/context-sensitive design (CSS/CSD), which has been defined as “a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that involves all stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits its physical setting, and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources, while maintaining safety and mobility”. This paper presents the development of a methodology to facilitate the pavement surface selection for low to medium volume roads. It considers the engineering design factors, such as structural capacity, performance, durability, and safety as well as non-conventional factors, including aesthetics, context compatibility, and environmental impacts. The surfacing evaluation involves, applying scoring factors and weighting factors to a series of selection attributes to identify the optimum solutions. Specific application of the developed process is also presented using information from actual sites.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Ahmed, Z
Maher, M
Marshall, C