Vision 2040 blue ribbon panel* holds first meeting to set a course for the next two decades.

What will concrete pavements and things related to paving and surface transportation infrastructure look like in 20 years?

That was the overarching question ACPA’s Vision 2040 “blue ribbon panel” considered when they met in late September, just after the close of the National Concrete Consortium meeting in Minneapolis. 

As reported previously, ACPA staff brought together a blue-ribbon panel of experts representing FHWA, State Departments of Transportation, Transportation Research Board, Contractors, Materials Suppliers, Consulting Engineers, Academia, and Equipment manufacturers to discuss a wide range of topics aligned with concrete design, construction, materials and equipment, and use-phase considerations. At times, the group focused on futuristic topics, while at other times, they discussed current and emerging trends, future possibilities, and a wide range of diverse solutions to meet the evolving needs over the next 20 years.

Gary Fick, Trinity Construction Management Services, Inc., an ACPA member, facilitated the discussion.  

Vision 2040 was modeled after a similar visioning session that took place 20 years ago.  The previous initiative, which took place in 1997, provided a Blueprint for Portland Cement Concrete Pavement Research Technology and Innovation.  That blueprint was subsequently expanded upon and translated into an Action Plan called “Creating a New Generation of Pavements” that provided a comprehensive research program to implement the goals contained in the Blueprint.  Our industry estimates that 80-85% of the goals and outcomes identified in the Action Plan have either been accomplished or are under way

With the Vision 2040 effort, there were no preset goals, which enabled the group to have a far-reaching discussion about current and emerging trends that will impact pavements … and more.  The group discussed “disruptive forces,” unpredictable and unforeseeable developments that can make a profound and lasting effect on transportation and, in some cases, on society.  The group also discussed and considered more conventional trends and patterns, such as:  increasing truck traffic and heavier loads; autonomous vehicles; e-commerce/distribution of goods; dedicated freight network; climate change; and the possibility of new ownership models, Fick reported. 

As part of the visioning effort the group also met in breakout sessions to discuss specific concrete pavement design, construction, materials, and use-phase issues, all with an eye on emerging trends and the challenges and opportunities that may arise over the next two decades. From those discussions, dozens of concepts and ideas emerged.  A few examples included self-healing pavements, pavements that perform multiple functions, equipment and material advancements, and process improvements.

ACPA staff, working with Fick, is now organizing these concepts and themes. The next steps will be for the Vision 2040 group to further discuss needs and opportunities and organize them into a plan to pursue in the years ahead. 

* Panograph shows meeting participants: 1. Ed Denton, Denton Construction; 2. Jerry Voigt, ACPA; 3. Glenn Eder, Simplex/JC Supply; 4. David Howard, Koss Construction Co. 5. Dan King, Iowa Concrete Paving Association;  and 6. Tom Van Dam, NCE, and 7. Glenn Engstrom, MnRoad.  Also, 8. Jim Mack, Cemex; 9. Peter Taylor, CP Tech Center; 10. Kevin Klein, GOMACO; 11. Mark Swanlund, FHWA; and 12. Jeremy Gregory, CS Hub at MIT.  Also, 13. Angela Folkestad, CO/WY Chapter-ACPA; 14. Kevin McMullen, Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Association; 15. Steve Gillen, Illinois Tollway; 16. Lori Tiefenthaler, Lehigh Hanson; 17. Andy Naranjo, Texas DOT; 18. Neil Fannin, Pennsylvania DOT; 19. Todd LaTorella, Missouri/Kansas Chapter-ACPA; 20.  Nancy Whiting, TRB; 21. Georgene Geary, GGfGA; 22. Dale Harrington, Snyder & Associates; and 23. Gina Ahlstrom, FHWA.  (Missing from photo: Bill Cuerdon, NY State Chapter-ACPA, and Leif Wathne, ACPA.)