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    The History of Pavement Management in the Federal Highway Administration

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    The paper begins with the results of the authors research into the beginnings of pavement management (PM) and pavement management systems (PMS) in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). It continues on through its continued emphasis over the years culminating in the establishment of the Pavement Divisions issuance of a Pavement Policy in January 1989, which includes a mandate that all State highway agencies (SHA) must develop and put into operation a comprehensive PMS within 4 years of the date of issuance of that policy.

    The discussion traces PM in the FHWA as it relates to FHWA's program manual (FHPM) and other directives that relate directly to the required activities in SHAs as a condition to receiving Federal-aid. While there have not been many specific mandates to SHAs until this recent one, the FHWA does develop emphasis areas and promote new innovations to the highway community from time-to-time, so it is interesting to relate those initiatives to see how the present requirement came about.

    In 1986, the FHWA reorganized to create a Pavement Division. Prior to that there was a Pavement Design Branch consisting of seven people that was part of the Design Division. Today the Pavement Division has 22 people and includes a Pavement Management Branch, which is an indication of the emphasis being placed on pavements and in particularly PMSs.

    The FHWA presented an introductory PM training course for State and Federal engineers a considerable number of years ago. There was also a training course for cities and counties labeled “Road Surface Management for local Governments,” which was presented over 30 times and is the fore-runner of an updated course by the same name being offered today. There were several directives regarding the use of PMS which preceded the first FHPM on the subject. Now the FHWA, in cooperation with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, (AASHTO) is offering an advanced course in PMSs for practitioners.

    This paper traces the history, emphasis, pertaining directives, training, and organization with regard to PMS. It concludes with an insight to the future of PMS in FHWA and SHAs.


    Pavement management systems (PMS), optimization, pavement management coordinating group (PMCG), and AASHTO Guidelines

    Author Information:

    Nostrand, WA
    Chief, Pavement Management Branch at the Federal Highway Administration, Washington, D.C.,

    Committee/Subcommittee: E17.41

    DOI: 10.1520/STP17791S