Asphalt Facts

Asphalt Facts

Get the FACTS on asphalt pavement. Asphalt is one of the indispensable materials of life in America. Want proof? Think about the fact that 94 percent of the paved roads in America are surfaced with asphalt. Learn about asphalt pavement and how it can benefit you. There are many reasons that highway engineers and motorists prefer asphalt. Simply stated, asphalt pavements are designed and built to last. Most roads are constructed in layers, with each layer playing its part in delivering the best infrastructure possible. When it’s all put together, asphalt pavements can handle the toughest traffic punishment.

Asphalt is the Most Cost-Effective Pavement Type

The United States has 2.2 million miles of paved roads, and about 94 per cent of them are surfaced with asphalt. Asphalt pavements are and continue to be America’s pavement of choice.

Today’s current national and local economic conditions – combining reduced funding with high infrastructure needs – have elevated the importance of prudent spending. Decision makers exercising good stewardship practices can easily justify their decisions and choices to their constituents. Good stewardship practices include a detailed, logical, and documented pavement type selection process that includes a life-cycle cost analysis as a key component.

Through continued research and development, asphalt pavements can be designed and constructed to meet customer expectations for any pavement application. Common customer expectations are for pavements that are cost-effective, long-lasting, smooth, quiet, sustainable, and user friendly. Asphalt pavements excel in each of these areas, making them the most versatile and desirable pavement type. Effectively providing everyone a place to park, providing bike paths through natural settings, efficiently serving as your driveway, quietly guiding us home at night, improving drainage, and structurally engineered to transport cars, planes and freight quickly and safely to their destinations – asphalt is the pavement of choice. Kentucky chooses to ride on us.

Smooth Pavements Save Fuel, And Even Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

Smooth roads conserve energy and extend the life of pavements. Studies at a pavement test track in Nevada have shown that driving on smoother surfaces can reduce fuel consumption in the neighborhood of 4.5 to 5 percent

compared to fuel consumption on a rough pavement. A study in Sweden concluded that vehicles traveling on the smoothest roads in that country’s network consumed up to 10 percent less fuel than vehicles on their roughest roads. All of the mentioned above and more can be found in the Asphalt Pavement Alliances’ document;  Smoothness Matters.

Perpetual Pavements – The Long-lasting Option

The Perpetual Pavement concept was first articulated in 2000 and the concept has rapidly gained acceptance. The Asphalt Pavement Alliances’ newest technical document on the subject is Perpetual Asphalt Pavements: A Synthesis. This comprehensive publication captures the activities that have taken place over the last decade, synthesizes the information in way that is useful to providing guidance for Perpetual Pavement design and construction, and provides a vision for further research and development to refine Perpetual Pavements.

Smoother pavements also result in longer pavement life by as much as 10 to 25 percent, resulting in lower maintenance costs. As a rule, asphalt pavements are smoother than concrete pavements. Smoothness measurements on interstate highways in Oregon and Washington showed that asphalt pavements are on average 33 percent smoother in Oregon, and over 50 percent smoother in Washington.

Smoothness also means that truck tires don’t bounce on the pavement and deliver the kind of impact loading they would on a rougher pavement. Some experts estimate that increasing pavement smoothness by 25 percent results in a 9 percent to 10 percent increase in the life of pavements.

Smooth pavements save money for motorists, too. According to The Road Information Program, driving on roads in poor conditions costs around $400 per year per vehicle annually.

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