InTrans / May 03, 2019

Tom Maze seminars conclude with pavement expert

Imad Al-Qadi, Bliss Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, helped InTrans close out the semester of Tom Maze Transportation Seminars with a stimulating talk on the future of pavement engineering.

Al-Qadi, who is also the director of the Illinois Center for Transportation, the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory, and Smart Transportation Infrastructure Initiative, presented on how pavement engineers are working to address the top concerns in transportation.

He listed those current concerns as congestion, safety, aging infrastructure, vehicle emissions, and perhaps a shortage in truck drivers carrying freight, and noted those concerns are only expected to exacerbate in the next 25 years.

The response to address those concerns Al-Qadi said is durable, safe, and sustainable pavement.

“I cannot look at (just) the paving. I have to look at the life-cycle assessment. I have to look at the bigger picture, from cradle to grave,” Al-Qadi said. “That’s the only way that you can judge.”

He also issued a warning about what could happen if pavements do not evolve.

“The future that we’re looking at, I don’t know, I think we need to make sure here that we take care of our pavements also, because if we don’t, people are going to drive above us. Flying cars are there,” Al-Qadi said.

The final Tom Maze seminar was held on April 26, but the presentations, including Al-Qadi’s, are all available online here.