Mechanistic–Empirical Analysis of Pavement Performance Considering Dynamic Axle Load Spectra Due to Longitudinal Unevenness

Jingnan Zhao, Hao Wang, Pan Lu, Jiaqi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pavement distresses are induced by mechanistic responses in pavement structure subjected to dynamic loads of moving vehicles. Pavement surface evenness deteriorates as pavement distresses propagate, which results in dynamic axle loads and faster pavement deterioration. It is vital to consider the dynamic axle load spectra to predict pavement deterioration using traffic-monitoring data. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of dynamic loads and overweight traffic on asphalt pavement overlay performance using mechanistic–empirical (M–E) pavement analysis. The relationship between dynamic load coefficients (DLCs), axle loads, and international roughness index (IRI) was obtained for accurate quantification of dynamic axle loads. Then the dynamic axle load spectra were derived by shifting the static axle load spectra in weigh-in-motion (WIM) data, given the DLC value. AASHTOWare Pavement ME software was used to analyze pavement performance with static and dynamic axle load spectra, and the impact of overweight traffic on asphalt pavement overlay performance. The impact of dynamic loads on reflective fatigue cracking was distinguished at an early stage of the service period and eliminated after the 10-year analysis period, when the propagation of reflective cracking reached a specific level. On the other hand, the consideration of dynamic axle loads increased the impact of overweight truck traffic on pavement distresses, and pavement structures of major highways tend to be more sensitive to overweight traffic because of greater DLC excitement at higher operational speeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2600
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


  • Dynamic load coefficient
  • Flexible pavement
  • International roughness index
  • Mechanistic-empirical pavement analysis


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