The Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (AASHTO 2008) is one of the more recent tools for the design and rehabilitation of pavement structures. The Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide was developed to improve on the traditional pavement design procedures presented earlier in this chapter (AASHTO Guide for Design of Pavement Structures, 1993) by providing the ability to predict multiple pavement-performance measures (such as rut depth, various types of cracking, joint faulting, International Roughness Index, etc.) and providing a direct link among pavement elements (materials, structural design, construction, traffic, climate and pavement management practices).
Unlike the traditional pavement-design procedures presented earlier in this chapter, the Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide is quite complex and must be done using a software package (the software package is referred to simply as MEPDG, standing for Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide). The design of pavements with MEPDG is an iterative process that can be summarized as follows:
- The design engineer first selects a pavement structure (layer thicknesses, etc.), often using the traditional AASHTO approach (AASHTO Guide for Design of Pavement Structures, 1993).
- Various inputs needed for MEPDG pavement assessment are then gathered and classified in the following broad topic groupings (please note that this is a much more time-intensive effort than the traditional AASHTO pavement