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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.


Field Performance of High Friction Surfaces
Izeppi, Edgar de Leon
Flintsch, Gerardo W.
Kevin K. McGhee
Kevin K. McGhee
Year: 2010
VTRC No.: 10-CR6

This report describes an evaluation of high friction surface (HFS) systems.  The goal of this evaluation was to develop guidance for agencies when considering whether an HFS was an appropriate solution when addressing specific instances of low skid resistance and/or especially high friction demand.  HFS systems are specially designed thin surface treatments that provide significant additional skid resistance of pavements and bridge decks without significantly affecting other qualities of the surface such as noise, ride quality, or durability.  This report documents the location and climatic conditions where some of these systems are placed, recounts the experiences reported by the agencies that were responsible for their placement, and summarizes key HFS service-level indicators (friction and texture).

The agency experiences include a sample benefit-cost analysis from an installation in Wisconsin that justified an HFS application through crash reductions that resulted following the measured increase in skid resistance.  Analysis of the service-level indicators included development of the coefficients necessary to obtain the International Friction Index (IFI) values for each of the tested systems.  Review of the IFI values suggested that more experiments with different types of wearing surfaces, to include HFS systems as well as more conventional surface treatments, are necessary in order to demonstrate the validity of the speed gradient and friction coefficients recommended by the ASTM standard for the IFI.