The road transport industry in New Zealand has been lobbying for increases in the allowable mass limits for heavy vehicles on the basis that this would give increased efficiency and benefits to the economy. Some of the proposals for increased mass limits involve increased axle load limits which would clearly lead to additional pavement wear. Road controlling authorities, while sharing the industry’s aims for increased efficiencies in the road transport system, are concerned that any additional pavement wear generated by higher axle loads will be paid for, so that the standard of the roading network can be maintained.
At present (2005) Road User Charges (RUCs) are based on the fourth power law, which was developed from the AASHO road test in the United States in the 1950s. The pavements and vehicles used for that test differ considerably from those in use in New Zealand today.
In response to possibly inevitable increases in mass limits of heavy vehicles on New Zealand roads, a four-year research study (between 2001 and 2004) at the Canterbury Accelerated Pavement Testing Indoor Facility (CAPTIF, Christchurch, New Zealand), was undertaken.
Keywords: accelerated pavement testing, CAPTIF, heavy vehicles, loads, loading, mass limits, pavement, pavement loading, pavement performance, pavement wear, roads, road user charges, surface texture, thin-surfaced pavements, traffic, vehicles