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The spectral characteristics of 162 pavement profiles are examined and compared with subjective ratings of the ride quality of the profile sections in a search for explanations of certain apparent anomalies in the relationship between ride quality and profile characteristics. Many of the profiles are found to contain large numbers of pulse-like disturbances, with the pulses contributing a significant proportion of the energy in the profiles at high frequencies. It is argued that the presence of pulses in pavement profiles could be a significant factor in subjective response to road roughness, but no firm evidence could be found to support the proposal. The synthesis of pavement profiles for use in computer simulations is also discussed, and there is reason to suppose that the simple random process frequently used to describe pavement surfaces is a poor model of profile characteristics for many pavements.
panel study, profile index, profile spectrum, profile synthesis, ride quality, road profile, spectral analysis, subjective rating, subjective response
Program Manager, Galaxy Scientific Corporation, Mays Landing, NJ