InTrans / Oct 11, 2022

Heated pavement system recognized as High Value Research by AASHTO

The Program for Sustainable Pavement and Engineering and Research’s (PROSPER’s) research on developing an electrically conductive concrete (ECON) heated pavement system (HPS) earned additional recognition.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognized the ECON HPS as a High-Value Research project after the organization previously recognized it as a Focus Technology.

PROSPER Director Halil Ceylan and his research team have spent the past nine years working on the ECON HPS by conducting extensive laboratory testing and material characterization, theoretical and numerical modeling studies, and two full-scale demonstration projects at the Des Moines International Airport and at the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters.

The results of the recognized research project are summarized here. Additionally, another full-scale implementation project is underway as part of a bus stop enhancement in Iowa City.

An ECON HPS has shown to be a promising alternative to conventional snow and ice removal operations using snowplows and deicing chemicals, which is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and environmentally unfriendly. The system utilizes the inherent electrical resistance of concrete to maintain the pavement surface at above-freezing temperatures and thus prevent snow and ice accumulation on the surface.

“We are very delighted to hear that our Iowa DOT/IHRB [Iowa Highway Research Board] funded research study was selected for an AASHTO High-Value Research award,” said Ceylan, who is also a Pitt-Des Moines, Inc. endowed professor in Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) at Iowa State University. “Congratulations to Iowa DOT and our research team for this prestigious recognition!”

Each year, the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee (RAC) asks states to identify and document recently completed high-value research projects and then publishes a compendium of the submitted projects. Per AASHTO, the resulting document provides substantial value to state DOTs, serves as a quick reference to these high-value projects, and helps eliminate or reduce duplication of research.

The committee then selects the top four projects from each of its four regions for the “Sweet Sixteen Awards,” and those projects—including ECON HPS—are then featured in AASHTO events and publications and the subject of a poster session and session at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting. Ceylan will present on the research at the 2023 TRB Annual Meeting.

In addition to the heated pavement research, another Institute for Transportation (InTrans) research project, Investigation of Autonomous/Connected Vehicles in Work Zones funded by the Iowa DOT through the Smart Work Zone Deployment Initiative, earned recognition from the AASHTO RAC in the supplemental category of Safety, Security, and Emergencies.

A few InTrans projects were also included in the 2021 compendium, and previous InTrans research on snowplow route optimization was recognized in the AASHTO supplemental category of Maintenance, Management, and Preservation in 2020.