CHPP Research Portfolio


Transportation agencies have realized that it is no longer possible to just “build their way” out of ever increasing needs for transportation facilities. An aging infrastructure of roadway pavements and bridges coupled with inadequate resources and rapidly growing traffic demands indicate an urgent need for different approaches. Preservation practices can extend the service life of the existing infrastructure and can be of help in providing better, safer, and more reliable service to users at less overall or life cycle cost.

One major impediment to widespread implementation of preservation programs by transportation agencies is lack of knowledge on how to select preservation actions and when and where to apply them to get the most benefit for the least cost – or in other words, how to apply the right preservation action at the right time to the right pavement or the right bridge.

Significant gaps exist in the understanding of pavement preservation and it will require a comprehensive and broadly supported program of research, development and technology transfer to fill those gaps. Working together with preservation practitioners from State, Provincial, and local transportation agencies, industry, academia, and FHWA, the effort has resulted in developing a broad array of pavement preservation research needs statements. Peer-reviewed white papers were developed to articulate pavement preservation issues within the broad categories shown in Figure 1.



Figure 1 AASHTO Roadmap research categories (1)



The consortium partners in CHPP has a large number of pavement experts, who are listed by specific research area in Figure 2. In addition to these pavement experts, the consortium universities have a vast array of experts in the various sciences and engineering disciplines, economics, management, and other fields.



Figure 2 Consortium pavement experts by research area

CHPP Research Themes

The establishment of CHPP at Michigan State University (MSU) is line with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s strategic goal of “State of Good Repair”. The CHPP Center is aimed at providing a new platform for accelerating innovation in highway pavement preservation. The Center is working closely with NCPP, which is the primary outreach arm for AASHTO, FHWA, and the Foundation for Pavement Preservation (FP2). The establishment of CHPP at MSU will substantially assist in meeting the increasing demand for highway pavement preservation research and will further the goal of increasing the reliability and performance of the nation’s highways.

The CHPP research will focus on the development of sustainable and intelligent highway preservation solutions for pavements. The planned research activities will be conducted in three main emphasis areas: (1) Materials: improved materials that can extend the lives of highway systems; (2) Monitoring: innovative sensing technologies including wireless sensor networks, and non-destructive evaluation for identifying the onset of distress and damage; and (3) Performance and Management: improved optimization and data management tools for scheduling optimal highway pavement preservation actions and strategies for improved highway asset management. Figure 3 shows potential research topics within each emphasis area. The potential research topics will address both basic and applied research. The latter directly answer some of the research needs that have been identified in the USDOT’s “Transportation System Preservation (TSP) Research, Development, and Implementation Roadmap.” The proposed research topics are consistent with those proposed by the USDOT within its “State of Good Repair” strategic goal.



Figure 3 CHPP basic and applied research themes

Research Portfolio for Cycle 1

During the project identification and selection process, emphasis was given to a balanced portfolio for the research topics. Figure 4 shows the distribution of the research topics by the Roadmap categories and CHPP research themes, respectively. It can be seen from the figure that all areas of research are well distributed among various Roadmap categories and CHPP research themes for cycle 1. It is anticipated that the research projects will be further identified based on the expected outcome duration. While some of the research topics address more fundamental research, the research results will be useful in solving pavement preservation challenges in the long-term. On the other hand, some of the research studies will involve more practical research to fill in the knowledge gaps in short-term. The research portfolio addresses various elements of pavement preservation needs including; relevance to the themes, feasibility, technical quality and idea, innovation, potential short- and long-term impact, integration among partners and expertise, and applicability of results. The final research projects for the CHPP is HERE.



(a) Roadmap research categories


(b) CHPP research themes

Figure 4 CHPP research portfolio for Cycle 1

Process of Project Identification and Selection

The CHPP research project identification and selection was only possible as results of an arduous and fair process involving all stakeholders. The process is briefly described below.

Research Projects Identification

This section briefly describes the rigorous process for identifying the CHPP research projects according to the broad categories and themes mentioned in Figure 1, respectively. The most significant aspect of this effort was the involvement of stakeholders i.e., preservation practitioners from States, Provincial, and local transportation agencies, industry, academia, and FHWA. All the partners were requested to submit the research need statements (2 pages problem statements). The effort resulted in developing a broad array of pavement preservation research needs statements. Twenty one (21) research statements were received from the CHPP consortium partners, and TSP partnerships. These research ideas represented the following States:


  1. Michigan
  2. Illinois
  3. Minnesota
  4. North Carolina
  5. Hawaii
  6. TSP partnerships from different regions of the U.S.


A rigorous review process was adopted for the selection of research projects for cycle 1 of the CHPP as described in the next section.

Project Selection Process

All the research statements were reviewed by the following two teams:

  1. Advisory board members of the CHPP
  2. Task for members from the main consortium partners and NCPP


The CHPP advisory board members represent a wide spectrum of State highway agencies and industry as mentioned below:

  1. Alicia Pilli – Illinois Toll-way,
  2. Amy Schutzbach – Illinois DOT,
  3. Judith Corley-Lay – North Carolina DOT
  4. Jim Moulthrop – FP2,
  5. Magdy Mikhail – Texas DOT,
  6. Maureen Jensen – Minnesota DOT,
  7. Steve Bower – Michigan DOT,
  8. Steve Gillen – Illinois Toll-way,


The task force members represented researchers, academia and practitioners from the following organizations:

  1. Michigan State University
  2. University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana
  3. University of Texas at Austin
  4. National Center for Pavement Preservations


Table 1 presents the general criteria for the evaluation of the problems statements by the advisory board and the task force. Each evaluation matrices shown in the table were scored between 1 to 5 with 1 representing the worst and 5 depicting the best. Finally, each problem statement was ranked based on the average scores from the reviewers. It should be noted that each reviewer also offered several comments and suggestions to improve the research idea along with his/her evaluation. Such feedback from all the reviewers is considered vital to further improve the research idea at the proposal stage. Finally, a total of thirteen (13) researches topics were selected based on the detail discussions among all the stakeholders.

Table 1 General guidelines for problem statement evaluations

No. Evaluation metrics



Relevance to theme
  • The research idea should be aligned to the overall center theme of pavement preservation
  • It could be related to asset management, design, materials, construction or performance aspects of highway preservation
  • How the specific idea fits into the overarching goals of the center?


  • The proposed research should be able to achieve the desired objectives within the given resources (budget) and time
  • Consider the short-term and long-term impact of research findings on pavement preservation practices


Technical quality of the idea
  • Since the research under the UTC umbrella is to be conducted in academic settings, the quality of the proposed idea should meet all the aspects of educational needs. For example, students training, curriculum enhancements, and scholarly attributes
  • The clear definition of the problem
  • How the research will address the specific objectives?


  • New ideas to solve existing or forthcoming issues related to pavement preservation
  • The existing problems can be related to performance modelling, asset management, material design, optimum timing, treatment type selection, identification of the most suitable existing conditions or performance monitoring of pavement preservation treatment
  • Identification of pavement performance measures for the preservation treatments


Potential impact
  • Academic impacts of the study i.e., education and learning
  • Practical impact of the research findings in resolving some of the short-term or long-term issues related to preservation
  • Potential for publications in journals and conference


Integration (partners/expertise)
  • Based on the expertise of different consortium partners, several research ideas may have potential for collaboration between researchers
  • Some problem statements can be merged into others to achieve the similar objectives but at the same time increasing the impact of a particular research idea
  • Part of some research ideas can be combined with others to enhance the overall effect of a research. For example,  by covering more climatic regions etc.


Applicable (this is the Advisory Board’s determination)
  • How the proposed research will assist practitioners or state highway agencies in construction practices related to pavement preservation?
  • The applicability may entails various implementation aspects of pavement preservation such as; asset or pavement management, design, materials, performance modeling and monitoring etc.


1.         AASHTO, “Transportation System Preservation Research, Development, and Implementation Roadmap,” American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, DC, 2008.