Graduate Studies


First Advisor

Dr. Laurence R. Rilett

Date of this Version


Document Type



Perales, G. (2017). An Empirical Analysis on Longitudinal and Lateral Tire-Pavement Friction (Master's thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Civil Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Laurence R. Rilett. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Gabriela Perales


Highway circular curves are designed to allow a driver to maneuver through the curve safely and comfortably during wet conditions (AASHTO, 2011). A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (e.g., green book) contains information from different observers from the 1930s and 1940s who have recorded different maximum side friction factors at similar speeds for pavements of similar compositions because of the difference in pavement texture, weather conditions, and tire condition. Over the years, vehicles, tires, and pavement have evolved, potentially causing differences in side friction values against pavements.

Aside from AASHTO, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Protective Design Center (PDC) oversees and develops the design criteria for military roadways at base entrances. As an example, military bases are designed to: (1) facilitate military and civilian traffic through Access Control Point (ACP) corridors easily and quickly, while (2) protecting the base from threat vehicles. As such, they are designed so base personnel, in a timely manner, can identify and react to hostile individuals driving vehicles onto the base. These types of vehicles are referred to as threat vehicles.

In this thesis, different devices are tested to estimate both longitudinal and lateral friction for civilian and military uses. Vehicle maneuvers were also tested to see if the maximum longitudinal and lateral friction coefficients were attainable when traversing through a design. Results were then analyzed to determine the best friction coefficient value to recommend and why.

It was concluded that AASHTO’s design limits are adequate for civilian roads while the military’s maximum limits were not. Data obtained from the longitudinal and lateral maximum tests indicated that the maximum friction limit provided for military use was conservative. This allowed vehicles with higher friction values to travel faster through a trajectory than those with lower friction values.

Advisor: Laurence R. Rilett