American Society of Civil Engineers

Estimating Heavy Vehicle Road Wear Costs for Bituminous-Surfaced Arterial Roads

by Tim C. Martin, (Principal Res. Engineer, ARRB Transport Res. Ltd. (formerly Australian Road Res. Board), 500 Burwood Highway. Vermont South, Victoria 3133, Australia. E-mail:

Journal of Transportation Engineering, Vol. 128, No. 2, March/April 2002, pp. 103-110, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: This paper provides the latest estimates of the attributable heavy vehicle road wear cost (load-related road wear)—which is an approximation for the marginal cost of road wear—for thin bituminous-surfaced arterial roads in Australia. These estimates were based on the following approaches: (1) a statistical relationship between the road maintenance costs and a heavy vehicle road use variable; and (2) a pavement deterioration model that forms the basis of a load-related road wear model. These recent estimates of the attributable road wear cost all suggest that the fourth power law-based equivalent standard axle load (ESAL) road use variable can be used for attributing the road wear costs. This variable is in the form of the ESAL-km parameter for attributing construction and rehabilitation costs as well as maintenance (road wear) costs. Because all of these road costs are being attributed by the same parameter, this will bring attention to the deficiency of the traffic loads being simply characterized by the fourth power law that forms the basis of ESAL estimation. However, no simple replacement for the fourth power law is currently available in Australia for the attribution of pavement wear costs.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Highway and road management
Highways and roads