SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1985

Effects of Road Roughness on Vehicular Rolling Resistance


A linear model for evaluating the influence of road roughness on total vehicular rolling resistance is presented. This model considers rolling resistance to be the result of three energy dissipation mechanisms:

(a) smooth-surface rolling losses,

(b) energy dissipation in the tire due to road roughness, and

(c) losses in the suspension system due to relative motion between sprung and unsprung mass.

The first of these mechanisms is completely dependent on the properties of the tire, specifically, hysteretic losses accrued from tire deformation during rolling. The other mechanisms are dependent on road profile, vehicle velocity, and vehicle parameters, as well as tire properties.

Calculation of losses due to rolling resistance are made by means of a quarter-car model to evaluate the relative magnitudes of the various mechanisms. The results obtained indicate that for rough road surfaces, the losses due to the roughness-related mechanisms are comparable to those arising from smooth-surface hysteretic losses.

The impact of reductions in highway roughness on rolling resistance and fuel economy are discussed briefly.

Author Information

Lu, X-P
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, MI
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Developed by Committee: E17
Pages: 143–161
DOI: 10.1520/STP34599S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4948-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0428-0