Road Weather Management Program
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Best Practices for Road Weather Management Version 2.0


Black Ice Detection in Open-Graded Friction Courses


New Generation Open-Graded Friction Course (NGOGFC), or Permeable Friction Course (PFC) pavements have been valued by transportation agencies because of their potential benefits, especially in wet weather conditions. However, the experience of different states with these mixes is varied, with some states experiencing durability problems, and performance and maintenance issues under winter conditions. The tendency for NGOGFC pavements to freeze faster and longer, and to accumulate black ice has discouraged more widespread use of this type of surfaces in many areas. Winter maintenance problems are considered their main disadvantage. This study has developed a methodology to detect the formation of black ice, which has been tested in the laboratory and implemented in various NGOGFC sections in the northern part of the state of Texas, consisting of the use of temperature and moisture sensors embedded in the pavement. The laboratory experiment confirmed the effectiveness of the black ice detection procedure. Furthermore, the field sensors can be monitored from a remote location, by means of a wireless network, and in real time. This technology has a great potential for use by transportation agencies because it can provide a warning indication that black ice formation is imminent, which can prompt them to apply anti-icing and de-icing products to prevent or minimize the occurrence of accidents. Another type of structure that is very susceptible to freezing and ice formation, besides NGOGFC pavements, where the procedure can be applied is on bridges.


86th Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, University of Texas-Austin, Center for Transportation Research. For an electronic copy of this resource, please direct your request to

Date: 2007


Trevino, Dossey, Yildirim


Pavement condition
Pavement temperature

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