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4 of the Most Interesting Things We Learned at the 2017 TRB Annual Meeting


The 96th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting was held January 8-12 in Washington D.C. The meeting covered a wide variety of topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, and researchers. We learned a lot during the six-day program, but here are some of our highlights.


Research using the continuous friction measurement equipment (CFME) to measure friction and predict aircraft braking distance on unpaved runways could open new measurement opportunities.

The research looked at how to determine whether an unpaved runway was suitable for landing the C-17 aircraft—the second largest military plane, weighing 486,000 lbs. The friction of the runway was measured using three different GripTesters. The friction data was then used to predict the runway condition rating, which was used to determine the necessary aircraft braking distance. Additional investigation into moisture content, more compact friction measuring devices, and relating the water application method to actual rainfall is planned. The research could open opportunities to measure properties of roads or tracks that were not considered before.


Learn from history to avoid making the same mistakes made in the past.

Sometimes we tend to forget what the past has taught us, and the future can be challenging if we don’t learn our lessons from history. It was refreshing to review the history, growth, evolution, and lessons learned of both asphalt and concrete pavement rehabilitation. Eminent scholars in the field of pavements led the two-part workshop. Part one focused on flexible pavements and part two focused on rigid pavements.


Precast pavement is a durable, low maintenance solution for repair and rehabilitation projects.

During the final meeting of Committee AFD70 on Pavement Rehabilitation, several agencies mentioned their experience with precast pavement for repair and rehabilitation projects.

  • The Ministry of Transportation – Ontario recently used precast pavement as a mill and inlay option for rehabilitation of existing asphalt pavement.
  • The Illinios Tollway Authority will be using precast pavement for repair of continuously reinforced concrete pavement.
  • The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has been evaluating precast pavement for rehabilitation of bridge approach slabs.
  • Caltrans continues to use precast pavement extensively throughout the state and will be doing a top-to-bottom evaluation of precast pavement projects and practices over the next year.
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (USACE ERDC) performed evaluations of precast concrete pavement for rapid repair of airfield pavements.

Precast concrete pavement has been proven to be a durable, long-life, low maintenance solution for rapid repair and rehabilitation of concrete pavement and bridge approach slabs. Using precast concrete has numerous benefits. Learn more about them here.


Performance engineered mixtures is a hot topic for next year.

The 2018 TRB Annual Meeting will feature a workshop on performance engineering mixtures. The CP Tech Center in Iowa is leading a study on the topic, which will primarily work on training and implementation of case studies of projects designed with performance engineered mixtures. An AASHTO provisional standard on performance engineered mixtures has been developed and is expected to be published this spring. The 2018 TRB Annual Meeting will be held January 7-11.


To see all of the papers and research available online from TRB Annual Meetings, visit the TRB Annual Meeting Online portal.


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