The NCAT Pavement Test Track (www.pavetrack.com) is a unique accelerated pavement-testing facility that brings together real-world pavement construction with live heavy trafficking for rapid testing and analysis of asphalt pavements. The test track is funded and managed as a cooperative project among highway agencies and industry sponsors.
The track is a 1.7-mile oval test track with 46 different 200-ft. test sections. Sections are sponsored on three-year cycles. Each sponsor has specific research objectives for their section(s) and shared objectives for the track as a whole.
NCAT operates a fleet of heavily loaded tractor-trailers to provide 10 million ESALs during each cycle. Pavement performance is monitored on a continuous basis to evaluate rutting, fatigue cracking, roughness, texture, friction and noise. Structural pavement research test sections have embedded strain and pressure sensors to analyze pavement response to loads for validation of mechanistic-empirical pavement design procedures. All sections are also equipped with temperature sensors throughout the pavement depth.
In addition to accelerated testing of pavement structures, the test track is currently being used for a variety of transportation-related projects, including the development of new heavy vehicle suspension systems, evaluation of alternative fuels, improved tires, a vehicle rollover prediction system, advanced propulsion systems, and improved vehicle electronics and safety.