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UC Pavement Research Center (PRC)

Combines innovative research and sound engineering to improve the sustainability of California’s pavements

The University of California Pavement Research Center carries out leading-edge research on a wide range of pavement-related issues.

With facilities at both UC Davis and UC Berkeley, the UCPRC provides field and laboratory data, analysis, tools, recommendations, and knowledge to practitioners and decision-makers that include Caltrans, FHWA, FAA, CalRecycle, CARB, and local governments in the areas of:

• Environmental impacts of pavements
• Pavement asset management
• Pavement design, materials selection, and construction quality


California’s law AB 32 mandates reductions in the greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to climate change. In its efforts to meet its mandate, Caltrans sponsored UCPRC research aimed at developing life-cycle assessment models that can help quantify GHG emissions from highway maintenance projects at the network and the project level.

To identify pavement treatment surfaces that are more acceptable to California’s increasing number of bicyclists as well as safe for motorists, Caltrans turned to the UCPRC for research into roughness and surface textures that could satisfy both sets of road users.

UCPRC is serving California by investigating the potential effects of increasing the amounts of reclaimed asphalt pavement, rubberized asphalt binder, and asphalt from recycled roof shingles that can be used in reconstructed highway sections. This is part of a joint effort with Caltrans and CalRecycle to comply with state laws and improve pavement performance.


UCPRC performs accelerated pavement testing using the Heavy Vehicle Simulator for a range of purposes, including understanding pavement behavior/response under different loading and environmental conditions, evaluating new materials, designs, specifications, and construction standards, and validating/calibrating new designs and performance models.