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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Pavement Friction Management Program Demonstration
Edgar de León Izeppi, Ph.D., Ross McCarthy, Ph.D., Gerardo W. Flintsch, Ph.D., P.E., and Samer W. Katicha, Ph.D.
Year: 2019
VTRC No.: 22-R14

A pavement friction management program (PFMP) should involve both equipment to collect friction and other relevant data as well as processes to analyze friction and crash data to determine possible friction enhancement treatments on sections that warrant it. This project built on previous experience with PFMPs to (1) propose an enhanced methodology for systematically screening a highway network and identifying sections that may warrant a detailed safety investigation and (2) demonstrate that methodology on the Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) in Virginia.

This project evaluated 7,000 miles of highway in Virginia. The demonstration collected friction, macrotexture, and geometric data; processed and filtered the data; and conducted a systemic analysis of the network. The analysis investigated the relationship between crashes and friction and other roadway properties, and developed Safety Performance Functions (SPFs) to quantify this relationship. The SPFs were then used in empirical Bayes analyses to estimate crash counts before and after friction enhancement treatment and identify sections with friction deficiencies that may benefit from them.

The network-level screening identified 1,709 0.1-milesections of roadway that can benefit from a friction enhancement treatment and thus may require a detailed safety investigation. The application of the selected friction enhancement treatment to the sections could result in a reduction of up 12,949 crashes (approximately 20% of crashes observed over 3years) in the network analyzed. The friction enhancement treatments would cost about $42 million but could generate potential economic savings over $1.75 billion.

The network-level assessment of the CoSS demonstrated the benefits and practicality of adopting a proactive, systemic pavement friction management approach to screen for sections that may benefit from friction enhancement treatment and warrant a detailed section investigation. The results of the demonstration suggest that the statewide adoption of the methodology can help reduce a significant number of crashes and associated fatalities and injuries.

The project surveyed a significant portion of the CoSS, screened the network, and identified many sections in which friction enhancement treatment could result in high potential return on investment. Each district can utilize the data collected in the project to target their detailed safety analyses and design safety improvement projects with collaboration from the Traffic Engineering, Maintenance, and Materials Divisions.