ASTM E1448 / E1448M - 09

    Standard Practice for Calibration of Systems Used for Measuring Vehicular Response to Pavement Roughness

    Active Standard ASTM E1448 / E1448M | Developed by Subcommittee: E17.31

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.03


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    Significance and Use

    Measures obtained by a response-type system depend primarily on the vehicle design and condition, the load, the measuring speed, and a host of environmental conditions. Even with control of all significant variables, the response of every vehicle is unique. Thus, raw measures from such a system are not reproducible with other systems.

    The calibration described in this practice provides a method for converting the raw output of a particular response-type system to a reproducible standard roughness scale.

    The response of a vehicle to road roughness is a complex phenomenon that cannot be summarized in a laboratory test. Therefore, the calibration is made through correlation with standard roughness index values established for calibration sites situated on representative roads. The data from the calibration sites are analyzed to determine an equation to estimate the standard roughness index from an RTSN.

    The estimate of the standard roughness index made by transforming an RTSN is subject to three types of error:

    Random Error of the Response-Type-System (Repeatability)This error includes operator error and variability in the response of the vehicle and other components of the response-type system. It can be reduced by performing repeated measurements with the response-type system and averaging the individual measurements to estimate the true RTSN for a site. Appendix X1 describes a test method for determining the magnitude of in-use repeatability error.

    Note 1—The length of the site or sites used to estimate in-use repeatability shall be equal to the minimum length of the test sections to be surveyed by the response-type system. This may require test sites that are longer than those profiled for the calibration.

    Bias Error in the Calibration EquationEstimates of the standard roughness index are biased if the calibration equation is incorrect or if no calibration equation is used. The purpose of this standard practice is to reduce bias to a negligible level. If desired, the magnitude of bias remaining after calibration can be estimated from data collected in the calibration.

    Standard Error of the Estimate (Error Due to Interactions Between Site Effects and Response-Type System Effects)This error is constant (a bias) for a particular combination of response-type system and site, but it is random with site selection. Ultimately it limits the accuracy of the estimate of the standard roughness of a site made with a response-type system. The error can be estimated from data collected in the calibration.

    The standard error of the estimate estimates the error due to physical differences in response between a particular response-type system and the standard roughness index. It cannot be reduced by a mathematical transform.

    Three physical variables that are controllable and that influence the standard error of the estimate are vehicle test speed, shock absorber damping stiffness, and vehicle tire pressure. For most vehicles, maximum reproducibility of standard roughness index estimates is obtained by adopting a test speed of 80 km/h [50 mph], by equipping the vehicle with stiff shock absorbers, and by maintaining a standard tire pressure. (See also 8.2.)

    Periodic verification is essential to ensure that the calibration remains valid.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice describes equipment and procedures for the calibration of systems used for measuring vehicular response to pavement roughness. Such systems are referred to as response-type systems. (See Test Method E1082.)

    1.2 The response-type system includes the driven vehicle, the driver and contents of the vehicle, the towed trailer (if one is used with the system), and a device called a road meter that measures the vehicle response to pavement roughness. The road meter may be mounted in an automobile, van, or in a towed trailer. Response-type (road meter) devices covered in this practice include: devices measuring the relative axle-body motion of a vehicle, devices measuring the vertical acceleration of the vehicle body, and devices measuring the vertical acceleration of the vehicle axle.

    1.3 The calibration procedures described in this practice are limited to the use of the simulations described in Practice E1170.

    1.4 This practice is not intended to apply to pavement roughness measuring equipment whose output is not influenced by the response of the host vehicle.

    1.5 The values stated in either SI units or inch-pound units are to be regarded separately as standard. The values stated in each system may not be exact equivalents; therefore, each system shall be used independently of the other. Combining values from the two systems may result in non-conformance with the standard.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E867 Terminology Relating to Vehicle-Pavement Systems

    E950 Test Method for Measuring the Longitudinal Profile of Traveled Surfaces with an Accelerometer Established Inertial Profiling Reference

    E1082 Test Method for Measurement of Vehicular Response to Traveled Surface Roughness

    E1170 Practices for Simulating Vehicular Response to Longitudinal Profiles of Traveled Surfaces

    E1215 Specification for Trailers Used for Measuring Vehicular Response to Road Roughness

    E1364 Test Method for Measuring Road Roughness by Static Level Method

    E1926 Practice for Computing International Roughness Index of Roads from Longitudinal Profile Measurements


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 43.020 (Road vehicles in general); 93.080.20 (Road construction materials)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 30120000(Roads and landscape); 41114508(Surface testers)


    DOI: 10.1520/E1448_E1448M-09

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