The surface deflection bowl data collected through Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) has been widely utilized by various Department of Transportation (DOTs) in the South-Central States and other places. The primary purpose of using deflection-based NDTs in network-level assessment is to identify a weak pavement section that requires further analysis at the project level. The falling weight deflectometer (FWD) test is one of the common NDT based tests utilized by highway agencies in assessing the performance of the flexible pavement. However, a robust method to evaluate pavement sections utilizing FWD data from all the sensors are seldom developed. There is always a need for DOTs and highway agencies to have a simplified procedure, which can be directly implemented in agencies’ databases.

This study focuses on expanding the concept of previously developed area ratio parameters towards the pavement section of South-Central States (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) in effectively analyzing the pavement performances. Simulation-based deflections are utilized to develop enhanced deflection-based parameters. The need for extensive FWD testing at the field will be reduced with software-based simulations. 3D-MoveAnalysis and Analysis and Simulation (ANSYS) were utilized to simulate the surface deflection obtained from FWD test. Deflection values obtained through the software simulations were highly correlated with the field test results. Furthermore, ninety-seven pavement sections in these states are considered to implement and validate simplified procedures that will be readily available to various transportation agencies to evaluate their pavement conditions at the network level. Area ratio parameters developed in the study are reliable enough to consider the effect of different drop loads and various pavement sections across the South-Central States.

Additionally, a pavement ranking chart is proposed for the five South-Central states, which categorizes the pavement section to very good, good, fair, and poor pavement sections. The chart will be helpful for DOTs and highway agencies to carry out the rehabilitation and maintenance work in time and estimate the budget required in these procedures. Similarly, the remaining fatigue life of the pavement section can be easily predicted utilizing the newly-developed relationship based on comprehensive area ratio parameters and number of cycles to fatigue failure.

Date of publication

Fall 12-10-2020

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Mena Souliman, Dr. Torey Nalbone, Dr. Gokhan Saygili, Dr. Matthew Vechione


Master of Science in Civil Engineering