New Web-Based Tool Analyzes Pavement Smoothness

IRI Explorer Compares Maintenance Options, Life-Cycle Assessment Impacts; Introductory Webinar Set for April 29

Smoother pavements are associated with improved fuel economy, reduced wear-and-tear on vehicles, greater driver comfort and satisfaction, and longer pavement life. With the new web-based tool IRI Explorer, road owners, pavement designers, academics, and other users can draw upon extensive pavement smoothness data to examine how different pavement treatments act over time in different environments.

Working with 20 years’ worth of data from the Federal Highway Administration’s Long-Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) database of projects, IRI Explorer — — makes it easy to study different pavement sections, their history, and the International Roughness Index (IRI) data recorded for each pavement. Pavement sections can be compared based upon materials used, maintenance applied, climate or region, and other factors.

IRI Explorer also includes an Emissions Estimator life-cycle assessment tool that helps project potential greenhouse-gas emissions for a roadway during construction and maintenance, as well as the emissions associated with use. Annualized emissions data can be used to directly compare pavements with different life cycles and maintenance strategies.

To introduce IRI Explorer to users, a webinar highlighting the tool’s capabilities will be hosted by the Asphalt Pavement Alliance on Apr. 29, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. To register for the webinar, visit

“Life-cycle assessments are an important tool for gauging and quantifying sustainability,” said Meagan Sylvia, Senior Environmental Manager for The Lane Construction Corp., who consulted on the development of the tool. “IRI Explorer lets pavement owners better forecast the environmental impact of different maintenance and pavement preservation strategies.”

Beyond the LTPP data, agencies and road owners can have IRI data for their road networks added to the tool. This data can be made public or access can be restricted to chosen users.

IRI Explorer was developed by Life Cycle Solutions (LCS), based in Houghton, Mich. which provides data analysis and modeling services for sustainable management of civil infrastructure systems. LCS specializes in using existing data sources to find new and robust opportunities to improve environmental and organizational sustainability. The IRI Explorer was created with funding from the National Asphalt Pavement Association and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations.