While pavement design and management practices are based on static axle loads, the actual loads applied to pavements are dynamic, varying as the suspension responds to the unevenness in the pavement surface. Furthermore the accumulation of these dynamic loads for the mix of vehicles in the fleet does not generate a uniform distribution of load along the pavement. Both these factors are believed to influence the level of pavement wear that is generated by heavy vehicles. Since the 1980s many studies have investigated the relationships between aspects of dynamic loading by vehicles and pavement wear.
This investigation, carried out in 1996–1997, reviews the sources of vehicle loading on pavements, assesses their effect on pavement wear, and interprets these results in terms of New Zealand pavements and vehicles. Having assessed the significance of the factors, the options for applying them to pavement management practices are evaluated.