SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2007

Measuring Pavement Friction Characteristics at Variable Speeds for Added Safety


Pavement friction testing is frequently conducted in accordance with the provisions outlined in ASTM E 274, “Standard Test Method for Skid Resistance of Paved Surfaces Using a Full-Scale Tire.” The standard speed of testing in Florida is 40 mph (64.4 km/h). However, due to safety concerns related to testing on high-speed facilities, considerable attention has been focused in recent years on height-sensor based (non-contact) technology. It is potentially well suited for surveying the surface texture characteristics of pavement sections while operating at highway speed.

Although the height-sensor based technology has been available since the 1960s, it continues to mature. A considerable amount of research has been conducted to gain further understanding on the factors affecting high-speed pavement surface surveying from both the analytical and experimental points of view. Still some problems have not fully been resolved, particularly in the interpretation of the measured data and selection of adequate sensing technology (or sensor designs).

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) initiated the present study to assess the feasibility of using high-speed, laser-based sensors to quantify the texture and friction characteristics of asphalt pavements. The main objective of this study is to provide for a safer, faster and more appropriate method of estimating pavement friction characteristics on high-speed facilities, ramps, and at other potentially hazardous sites. Further, it is also intended to provide for a means to obtain a measure of International Friction Index (IFI) in accordance with ASTM E 1960.

This paper presents a description of the FDOT testing program, the data collection effort, as well as the subsequent analyses and findings.

Author Information

Jackson, N., Mike
University of North Florida, Division of Engineering 4567, Jacksonville, FL
Choubane, Bouzid
Florida Department of Transportation, Gainesville, FL
Holzschuher, Charles
Florida Department of Transportation, Gainesville, FL
Gokhale, Salil
Applied Research Associates, Inc., ERES Consultants Division, Gainesville, FL
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Developed by Committee: E17
Pages: 59–72
DOI: 10.1520/STP45251S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6234-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-5521-3