Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Robert Evans

Dr Robert Evans


Optimising Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to Assess Pavements

Project Title

Optimising Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to Assess Pavements


Jacobs Engineering


Dr Matthew frost
Professor Neil Dixon

Mr Martyn Stonecliffe-Jones
Mr Dave Riley

Director of Research:
Dr Paul Fleming

Research Period

2004 - 2008


Optimising Ground Penetrating Radar GPR) to Assess Pavements


The assessment and maintenance of transportation assets is vital for the efficient functioning of modern transport infrastructure. Assets include road structures and foundations, as well as associated infrastructure such as embankments, cuttings, earthworks, and tunnels.

The largest and most popular transportation mode in the UK is that of road transport. Obtaining improved quality of information about the asset condition, particularly that of the road pavement, will therefore assist in enhancing the efficiency of the road network. Currently, deflection testing and radar investigation are the two most commonly used non-invasive techniques used for assessing pavements, and these data are used to plan road maintenance and improvement works. Therefore, increasing the effectiveness and optimising the use of such non-invasive techniques will enhance the network operation and hence will contribute, in part, to the UK government’s and EU’s aims of integrated transport and sustainable mobility.

Aims and objectives

The overall aim of the project is to provide improved non-invasive ground investigation methodologies, through the use of modern and innovative in-situ assessment techniques, for the structural and geotechnical assessment of pavement structures.

  • Improve the understanding of information and level of knowledge that can be obtained from existing ‘standard’ non-invasive pavement investigations, such as deflection testing and  ground radar surveys;
  • Encourage and increase the use of new methods, that provide appropriate engineering information, for structural pavement assessment;
  • Efficiently integrate information from different techniques, to optimise the amount of knowledge gained about pavement condition;
  • Evaluate the applicability of engineering parameters relating to pavement structural condition, obtained from non-invasive investigations, for the planning of subsequent road maintenance.

Method and current status

The first stage of the project will be to conduct a literature review to establish the ‘state of the art’ relating to geophysical and non destructive evaluation of road structures, particularly using radar and deflection methods. The project will then involve standard and innovative use of such techniques to assess and investigate the condition of existing sites and structures, and subsequent analysis of data obtained. Information that can be obtained from other, innovative, techniques will also then be considered. Information obtained will be related to the maintenance requirements needed to improve the efficiency and function of both rigid and flexible pavement structures.

Benefits and expected outcomes

It is hoped that the investigations conducted during the project will provide improved non-invasive investigation methodologies for rapid assessment of the condition of road structures. This will allow an improvement in the way data from routine investigations is collected and analysed, and also allow the integration of data from newer and more innovative techniques. An enhanced understanding of the structural condition, and performance, of pavements will be obtained. Enhancement and optimisation of the information gained from pavement investigations will, in turn, allow more efficient and appropriate road maintenance to be planned.

Evans, R.D. ... et al. (2007). Assessment of the in-situ dielectric constant of bituminous pavement materials. Transportation research record : journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2037, pp. 128-135 [DOI:10.3141/2037-12].

Evans, R.D. ... et al. (2006). Ground-penetrating radar investigations for urban roads. Proceedings of ICE, Municipal Engineer, 159 (2), pp 105-111 [DOI: 10.1680/muen.2006.159.2.105].

Evans, R.D. ...et al. (2008). A review of pavement assessment using ground penetrating radar (GPR) in 12th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar, June 16-19, 2008, Birmingham, UK.

Evans, R.D. ...et al. (2008). The response of ground penetrating radar (GPR) to changes in temperature and moisture condition of pavement materials. IN: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Transportation Geotechnics, 25th -27th August 2008, Nottingham, UK.

Evans, R.D. ... et al. (2007). Variation in information obtained from interpretation of ground penetrating radar (GPR) pavement investigation data. IN: Loizos, A., Scarpas, T. and Al-Qadi, I.L. (eds.). Advanced Characterisation of Pavement and Soil Engineering Materials: Proceedings of the International Conference on Advanced Characterisation of Pavement and Soil Engineering, 20-22 June 2007, Athens, Greece.

Evans, R. ... et al. (2006). Optimising the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR) for urban road investigations. Proceedings of the 10th IAEG Congress, 6th-10th September, Nottingham, UK.



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