The asphalt industry innovations continue to afford asphalt pavement as the most economical, efficient, and environmentally friendly pavement.
Asphalt engineers are constantly innovating to make roads perform for today and the future. The asphalt industry is committed to workforce training and to scientifically analyzing pavements to ensure the best products. Past innovations in asphalt surface mixes have helped reduce the pavement–tire noise level of asphalt, making it the "quiet pavement." These quiet pavement technologies include open-graded surfaces, fine-graded surfaces, rubberized asphalt, and stone-matrix asphalt, which have led to noise reductions as great as 7 decibels.1 Reducing noise by 3 decibels is equivalent to doubling the distance from the road to the listener.
Asphalt pavements are built in layers, adding strength, and increasing the road’s carrying capacity as each layer is placed. These are just a few examples of asphalt pavement technologies that ensure safety, performance, cost-effectiveness, durability, and sustainability:
- Asphalt overlays, which can range from a fraction of an inch to several inches thick, provide an economical solution to aging roads in need of preservation and updates.
- The asphalt industry uses Perpetual Pavement designs to build long-life asphalt pavements that never require major structural repairs. Instead, they require minor surface rehabilitation about every 12 to 15 years.
- Stone-matrix asphalt, open-graded friction courses, fine-graded surfaces, and rubberized asphalt can help reduce highway noise by as much as 7 decibels.
Asphalt pavement companies are constantly innovating within their operations by finding ways to streamline operations, automate tasks, and increase operating efficiency. These advances are ultimately used to reduce the bids on project contracts when the competitive lettings take place.
- Fleet management systems with GPS track trucks ensure high-quality products and efficient operations.
- Intelligent construction technologies use GPS for grade control, infrared systems to aid compaction, and more.
- App-based technologies and artificial intelligence technologies improve operations and save money.
- WSDOT (2012). “WSDOT Pavement Roughness (IRI) Report: 2010” in WSDOT Pavement Notebook. Washington State Department of Transportation, Olympia, Washington.