Pavement engineering as an academic discipline faces numerous challenges and opportunities in terms of identity, education, research, and professional practice. Over the past two years, professors Imad Al-Qadi (UIUC), Bjorn Birgisson (Aston), John Harvey (UC Davis), Dallas Little (TX A&M), and Tom Scarpas (TUDelft) formulated and debated a basic vision for how to advance pavement engineering education and research and set a new course for preparing the next generation of pavement engineers for professional practice. This vision includes a collective focus on the science and engineering principles that underpin our discipline and align education, research, and professional practice with new and emerging knowledge in design, materials, analysis, modeling, management, and sustainability to address the challenges for pavement professionals in the 21st century.
On October 14, 2015, academic leaders from around the world came together to review, discuss, debate, and further refine this vision for the development of a pavement engineering academic workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to address the needs and the demands of the multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure that underpins the world’s economies. The all-day forum was held at the Hilton Chicago at O’Hare Airport, in Chicago, IL, and was hosted and led by Professor Al-Qadi of UIUC.
Establishment of the Academy of Pavement Science and Engineering (APSE) was announced at the meeting and dedicated task force teams were identified and charged with the development of a mission statement and drafting of white papers on education, research, professional image, and community service for the pavement engineering profession. These white papers will provide the building blocks for a global roadmap for revitalizing the discipline, sharing knowledge, and strengthening the academic foundations of pavement engineering.
The group held a follow-up meeting on January 14, 2016, during the 95th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board where various members of the group presented white papers on education, research, and service and discussed further work to advance the mission of the group. The next meeting of APSE will take place in Spring 2016 for the purpose of finalizing the roadmap and putting APSE into action.