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March 3-7, 2026

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Technological Advancements to Improve Paving Quality



Paving can be challenging. There are a lot of variables to consider. Plus, you can’t determine pavement quality by simply looking at it.

Equipment manufacturers have come up with several new technological innovations to make paving more accurate and efficient.


Once the asphalt leaves the plant, it’s up to the end-user to ensure it gets used while the asphalt is still within the working temperature range. Process monitoring solutions is like an advanced dispatch service available to the contractor. You can monitor asphalt deliveries from the plant and direct or redirect them. Not only does this allow contractors to monitor the cycle times of trucks in real-time, but they can add more trucks if cycle times increase to ensure a continual flow of asphalt.


Asphalt must be placed when it’s within a certain temperature range and you can’t tell by looking at a pavement with your eyes if it meets specifications. After the paving and compacting is complete, you take one or more core samples, test them and use those results as a proxy for the entire pavement. If the results are bad, you have to rip up the entire pavement and start again.

Fortunately, manufacturers have come up with thermal mapping to measure monitors asphalt’s surface temperatures. It uses an infra-red camera (or bar) mounted to the rear of the paver and a global navigation satellite system. The temperatures read by the camera and infrared bar are made available to the paver operator. There’s also an option to record the data for future use.

By being able to see the asphalt’s temperature in real-time, the operator can halt or change operations and deal with any issues, such as thermal segregation.

The second value you need to check is a pavement’s compaction value. All pavements must reach a certain compaction value. And compaction isn’t something you can see with your eyes. You can’t tell by looking at it if it’s compacted.


Intelligent compaction refers to a suite of technologies such as sensors that measure compaction, a GPS (global positioning system), an onboard dashboard, and perhaps machine communication and automation.

It also provides feedback to the operator, so the operator can know with confidence when the asphalt has made compaction. It creates a pass count map, which shows how many passes a section of pavement has had. With this tool, you will never under compact or over compact.

Many paving projects require multiple compactors. If each compactor operator knows what each other compactor compacted, then that compactor operator can know where to compact and how many passes. Machine communication allows for this. Coupled with machine control, you can take the operator out of the cab, as the compactors automatically compact the pavement to specification.


Curb/slipform pavers have traditionally used string to plot out a pavement. String lines provide several problems. They must be set up by a licensed surveyor, which can add time to your project. If the string breaks, you must redo the process.

Stringless paving incorporates GPS with millimeter accuracy for accurate placement of concrete pavements. It provides 3D guidance for pavement placement. With it, contractors can cut schedules and reduce risk.

Any of these new technologies can help increase accuracy and productivity. While paving will always have challenges, new technology can make the process go a little more smoothly. By implementing any of these technologies, paving contractors can improve their paving operations and bottom line.

Photo credit: Nathan Medcalf

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