Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Michael Bienvenu

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Amir Mirmiran

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Walter Tang

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Wallied Orabi

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Cesar Constantino

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Pavement-vehicle interaction, Fuel consumption, Emission

Date of Defense



Vehicle fuel consumption and emission are two important effectiveness measurements of sustainable transportation development. Pavement plays an essential role in goals of fuel economy improvement and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction. The main objective of this dissertation study is to experimentally investigate the effect of pavement-vehicle interaction (PVI) on vehicle fuel consumption under highway driving conditions. The goal is to provide a better understanding on the role of pavement in the green transportation initiates.

Four study phases are carried out. The first phase involves a preliminary field investigation to detect the fuel consumption differences between paired flexible-rigid pavement sections with repeat measurements. The second phase continues the field investigation by a more detailed and comprehensive experimental design and independently investigates the effect of pavement type on vehicle fuel consumption. The third study phase calibrates the HDM-IV fuel consumption model with data collected in the second field phase. The purpose is to understand how pavement deflection affects vehicle fuel consumption from a mechanistic approach. The last phase applies the calibrated HDM-IV model to Florida’s interstate network and estimates the total annual fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on different scenarios. The potential annual fuel savings and emission reductions are derived based on the estimation results.

Statistical results from the two field studies both show fuel savings on rigid pavement compared to flexible pavement with the test conditions specified. The savings derived from the first phase are 2.50% for the passenger car at 112km/h, and 4.04% for 18-wheel tractor-trailer at 93km/h. The savings resulted from the second phase are 2.25% and 2.22% for passenger car at 93km/h and 112km/h, and 3.57% and 3.15% for the 6-wheel medium-duty truck at 89km/h and 105km/h. All savings are statistically significant at 95% Confidence Level (C.L.).

From the calibrated HDM-IV model, one unit of pavement deflection (1mm) on flexible pavement can cause an excess fuel consumption by 0.234-0.311 L/100km for the passenger car and by 1.123-1.277 L/100km for the truck. The effect is more evident at lower highway speed than at higher highway speed. From the network level estimation, approximately 40 million gallons of fuel (combined gasoline and diesel) and 0.39 million tons of CO2 emission can be saved/reduced annually if all Florida’s interstate flexible pavement are converted to rigid pavement with the same roughness levels. Moreover, each 1-mile of flexible-rigid conversion can result in a reduction of 29 thousand gallons of fuel and 258 tons of CO2 emission yearly.





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