Pavement management was born in the 1967-70 time-frame (1). It was the first of what are now many asset management systems implemented in state DOTs. Followed in 1987 by Bridge Management Systems (2) developed by Hudson, Carmichael, and Hudson. Pavement management was well enough recognized by 1980 that the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the world’s premier agency for sharing transportation information created a pavement management committee with Dr. W.R. Hudson as its first chairman. This committee was so successful in focusing on new pavement technology and pavement management systems (PMS) that about 10 years later the TRB renamed its entire pavement design section the “Pavement Management Section.” Dr. Hudson, again served as the first chairman of that group and Dr. Ralph Haas assumed the chairmanship of the PMS committee.
Hudson and Haas recognized that while TRB provided a platform for sharing PMS, it was limited to presenting and publishing 5 to 10 PMS technical papers per year. Other good technical papers were submitted but had to be rejected for lack of space at the TRB annual meeting. They and other PMS experts felt that the time was ripe to hold an international conference to provide a broader technical forum for PMS and to examine the most significant issues in the field. Haas and Hudson began to seek support for such a conference. Dr. Ramesh Kher, one of Dr. Hudson’s graduates, was working in the Ontario Ministry of Transport and he along with Ralph Haas approached the Ministry for support of such a conference.
Simultaneously, Bill Kenis, a pavement research engineer in the US Federal Highway Administration, approached the FHWA research director for support of the conference. A conference business plan was prepared, submitted, and quickly approved by the two agencies and TRB. The First International Conference on Managing Pavement Assets (ICMPA) was actually called the North American Pavement Management Conference and was held in Toronto, Canada on May 18-21, 1985 (3). Financial support was provided by sponsorship from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Ontario, US FHWA, AASHTO, Transportation Association of Canada, and TRB.
ICMPA was an immediate success with dozens of papers presented in public forums. Perhaps more importantly, time was set aside in the conference for groups to brainstorm the state-of-the-art of pavement management at that time and to outline future directions and research that were needed to advance the state-of-the-art. Many of the ideas developed there were picked up and funded by US FHWA, AASHTO through NCHRP, Canadian agencies, and various state DOTs.
During the next decade, great strides forward were made in various facets of pavement management and advances were so rapid that in November 2-6, 1987 a second international conference was held with similar funding. These conferences have continued on a regular basis. Additional conferences have been held in San Antonio, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Durbin, South Africa; Calgary, Canada; and Santiago, Chile; and the 9th such conference, the ICMPA9, will be held in Alexandria, Virginia on May 18-21, 2015. The content of this conference promises to be outstanding with more than 200 papers submitted for review and publication. The primary conference organizers include, Dr. Gerardo Flintsch, (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Virginia Tech, and Ms. Judith Corley-Lay of NCDOT, both noted leaders in PMS; Gerardo in academia and Judith in practice. If you have not made plans to attend, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. You won’t be disappointed in what you learn there. The contact information is: http://www.icmpa9.org/
- Hudson, W.R., F.N. Finn, et al, “Systems Approach to Pavements,” Final Report, NCHRP Project 1-10, MR&D, 1968.
- Hudson, S.W., R.F. Carmichael, W.R. Hudson, Bridge Management Systems, NCHRP Report 300, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., December 1987.
- First North American Pavement Management Conference, NAPMC Proceedings, Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications, March 1985.