News Release 

Models designed to predict when and how the roads of Bizkaia will deteriorate

Two models have been developed by a research group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country for the Road Pavement Management System of the Chartered Provincial Council of Bizkaia

University of the Basque Country


IMAGE: This is Heriberto Pérez. view more 

Credit: UPV/EHU

A collaboration agreement signed between the UPV/EHU's Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Public Works and Transport of the Charter Provincial Council of Bizkaia has enabled Heriberto Pérez-Acebo, a researcher and lecturer at the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Engineering - Bilbao, to use and analyse data obtained in road inspection campaigns. He analysed data on the main interurban highway network of Bizkaia so that he could explore how the road pavements of the highways deteriorate and that enabled him to develop some deterioration models.

Thanks to these models, it is possible to find out when and to what extent the road pavements will deteriorate, to predict the repair work and also to find out how much the repairs will cost. "The data obtained on the roads have not been analysed until now to find out how a road changes and deteriorates. With the equations we have developed, we can find out, for example, what condition the roads will be in ten years from now after a specific number of vehicles have driven along them. So we can make predictions before the ten years have elapsed and work on a strategy to optimize the effect that these repairs will have on the budget," explained the engineer Pérez-Acebo.

Two indicators

The data on the International Roughness Index (IRI) and the Coefficient of Transverse Friction (skid resistance) were used in the research. The first "is an index to measure road pavement irregularity and is widely used across the world. As can be expected, as road pavements deteriorate, the index value worsens", said Pérez-Acebo. "Skid resistance measures the degree of risk in vehicles coming off the road on bends," he added. "That provides an opportunity to find out which material needs to be applied to the road wearing course."

The models developed by Heriberto Pérez for the IRI can be used for new conventional two-lane highways with a flexible or semi-rigid pavement, whereas the model developed for skid resistance can be used for any type of road -conventional ones as well as highways or motorways- and for all the materials routinely used in carriageway layers.

According to the researcher, the models provide excellent results. "By using fewer parameters than in some other models, we have achieved very similar precision; however, the potential for error is always present: one often does not know why one section deteriorates more that another along the same kilometre of road," he explained. Right now, they are working in collaboration with the Chartered Provincial Council of Bizkaia to analyse road pavements inside tunnels.


Additional information

Heriberto Pérez-Acebo (Barakaldo, Basque Country, 1980) is a road, canal and port engineer and an industrial organisation engineer. This research is the result of his PhD thesis written up under the supervision of Eduardo Rojí-Chandro, a UPV/EHU lecturer, and Hernán Gonzalo-Orden, a lecturer at the University of Burgos. He obtained an international grant to spend a period of time at the Technical University of Moldova.

Bibliographical reference

Heriberto Pérez-Acebo, Hernán Gonzalo-Orden, Eduardo Rojí

Skid resistance prediction for new two-lanes. Proceedings of the Insitution of Civil Engineers.

Transport, 172(5), 249-263 (2019).

DOI: 10.1680/jtran.17.00045

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