Highways Research Group

University of Minho, Portugal


Staff Members












Annually, the European citizens spend nearly 15% of their revenues (approximately 500 billion euros) in mobility, particularly using the road network, which constitutes a key infrastructure for the economic and social development. In this context, investment in transport infrastructures research constitutes a strategic objective, especially in the field of maintenance optimisation.


The socio-economic development of the population, in general, has lead users to consider the road in the framework of its global life cycle, including both direct and indirect costs: construction and rehabilitation costs; user costs, including those resulted from traffic disturbance due to the M&R activities; environmental costs; society costs (“externalities”).


This approach leads to act in an innovative programme with respect to the surface course of pavements – the component responsible for the “soft” function of the pavement, the visible part, which has direct impact on vehicles and users, and on the environment. In this context, it is essential to consider, on the one hand, the interaction vehicle-road and, on the other hand, the impact of this interaction with the users and the environment.


Concerns with respect to restrict the maintenance and rehabilitation work to the surface course have been increasing. Innovative surface courses should be resistant, durable and, in particular, should provide riding quality to the users, in order to guarantee safety, comfort and economy, and should provide environmental quality throughout the pavement life. Furthermore, innovative surface courses should incorporate intelligent systems to detect and trace degradations, based in the Information Technologies (IT), interacting directly with the network management system and with the users, assuring permanently good riding conditions following the most high quality standards.


However, in order to proceed to this innovative programme, it is necessary to continue innovating in the component responsible for the “hard” function of the pavement, its bearing capacity, integrating the theme of “Sustainable Construction and Maintenance of Road Pavements”.


In this context, pavements in general should be more durable, incorporating innovative materials; pavements should be “environmentally friendly”, incorporating industrial waste; pavements should be “intelligent”, capable of exchange information about its evolution in real time, using the IT in order to support the management of its exploitation and maintenance operations. Thus, during the pavement life cycle, monitoring costs should be reduced, while the reliability of the structural performance models should be increased.


The research activity to be developed shall include three components: laboratory research; in situ research; numerical modelling. In order to obtain results to support innovation, the laboratory component should also include the construction of trial pavements in real scale, to be subjected to real traffic loads in an Accelerated Loading Facility (ALF).


These projects shall be carried out with the support of multi-disciplinary teams, involving the road administration, the road users and the road industry.


In this context, the Highways Unit of the Department of Civil Engineering, at the University of Minho, has selected, as its strategic research line, “The Road and the Quality of Life” with the support of the following research areas:


  • Safety and Environment in Road Transport

  • Road Pavement Materials and Technology

  • Road Pavements Modelling

  • Road Asset Management



Research Projects


1.       Safety and Environment in Road Transport

1.1.      SAFESPEED – Speed management strategies: an instrument for the implementation of safe and efficient road management solutions

Head: Paulo Pereira (ppereira@civil.uminho.pt)


1.2.     NOISELESS - Noise perception, modelling and abatement using innovative and durable pavement surface layers

Head: Elisabete Freitas (efreitas@civil.uminho.pt)



2.       Road Pavements Materials and Technology

2.1.      Optimisation of Crumb Rubber Modified Bitumen Mixtures

Head: Jorge Pais (jpais@civil.uminho.pt)


2.2.      Development of New Materials to Minimise Crack Propagation

Head: Hugo Silva (hugo@civil.uminho.pt)


2.3.     Recycling of road pavements using asphalt modified by crumb rubber from used tires

Head: Jorge Pais (jpais@civil.uminho.pt)


2.4.     Innovative Pavement Repairing Solutions

Head: Hugo Silva (hugo@civil.uminho.pt)



3.        Use of Building Construction By-products in Road Pavements

3.1.     Incorporation of Industrial Waste in Pavement Layers

Head: Jorge Pais (jpais@civil.uminho.pt)


3.2.     Cold mix recycling with foam bitumen

Head: Joel Oliveira (joliveira@civil.uminho.pt)


3.3.     Cold mix recycling with cement

Head: Joel Oliveira (joliveira@civil.uminho.pt)



4.        Road Materials and Pavement Modelling

4.1.      The Effect of Traffic Overloads on the Road Pavement Performance and Life Cycle Costs

Head: Jorge Pais (jpais@civil.uminho.pt)


4.2.      Modelling of Heavy Traffic Characteristics and its Evaluation of its Impact on Pavement Behaviour

Head: Paulo Pereira (ppereira@civil.uminho.pt)


4.3.      Reflective Cracking Modelling

Head: Jorge Pais (jpais@civil.uminho.pt)


4.4.      Pavement Rehabilitation Design Considering Crack Propagation

Head: Jorge Pais (jpais@civil.uminho.pt)


4.5.      Microstructural Analysis of Bituminous Mixtures for the Optimization of Road Pavements’ Rehabilitation

Head: Hugo Silva (hugo@civil.uminho.pt)


4.6.      Block Pavement Modelling

Head: Paulo Pereira (ppereira@civil.uminho.pt)



5.       Road Asset Management

5.1.     Establishment of Pavement Performance Indicators and its Impact on the Maintenance Strategies

Head: Joel Oliveira (joliveira@civil.uminho.pt)


5.2.     Online “Intelligent” Monitoring Methods to Follow the Evolution of Pavement Characteristics

Head: Elisabete Freitas (efreitas@civil.uminho.pt)


5.3.     Development of Pavement Performance Prediction Models

Head: Elisabete Freitas (efreitas@civil.uminho.pt)


5.4.     Improvement of Maintenance Strategies Efficiency for Sustainable Pavements

Head: Joel Oliveira (joliveira@civil.uminho.pt)


5.5.     Maintenance Works Impact on the Safety of Road Users and on the Quality of Life

Head: Joel Oliveira (joliveira@civil.uminho.pt)




Last update: 04-Fev-2009