Federal Highway Research Institute

Reference sections

Quality assurance and the further development of measuring systems to detect road surface properties

The picture shows an aeria view of duraBASt with marked reference sections Reference sections at duraBASt: 1 longitudinal evenness section, 2 rolling section (transverse evenness), 3 skid resistance section, 4 section with substance characteristics (surface), 5 texture section, 6 road markings section


The picture shows the SKM measurement vehicle  SKM measurement vehicle

Germany has one of the densest road infrastructure networks in Europe, guaranteeing a high degree of mobility and economic efficiency. The German federal trunk road network encompasses around 13,000 km of national motorways and approximately 38,000 km of federal highways, and represents a substantial proportion of national assets. Maintaining federal trunk roads is therefore a very pressing task for the present and the future.

To continue to meet the needs of the road infrastructure relating to road safety and efficiency over the long-term, road surfaces must be skid resistant, even, quiet and durable. Road monitoring and assessment (ZEB) plays a major role here, within which, since 1991, evenness in the longitudinal and transverse profile, skid resistance and the substance characteristics (surface) have been recorded on federal trunk roads using fast moving measuring systems in moving traffic. This takes place regularly every four years. The results of the ZEB establish an essential basis for national maintenance planning.


Modern and innovative test facilities – for example the reference sections on the duraBASt – are required to ensure the quality and further develop the measurement technology deployed in the ZEB. These sections are not integrated in the public road network and as such are not subject to any continuous changes which are largely caused by traffic load. They have defined and permanent characteristics and properties that enable the measuring systems to be tested within their respective limits. In addition to a longitudinal even-ness section of track, the site also has a rolling section for transverse evenness, a skid resistance section, a section with substance characteristics (surface) and a texture section.


The reference sections are used for the quality assurance and further development of measuring systems that survey the condition of roads. This then permits a quality assurance process to be performed on surfaces with different, defined features and no longer exclusively in comparison with reference measurement vehicles. The objectivity of the tests is boosted, and the permitted test tolerances can be more tightly defined given the considerably more constant ancillary conditions. As a result, much greater measurement accuracy may be expected. Additionally, scientific research can be conducted into new parameters to describe surface conditions.

Reference section for measuring systems to monitor the texture of road surfaces

The texture of a road surface represents a link between all functional features, and is a decisive factor that simultaneously influences road safety and the emission of noise and CO2. more ...: Reference section for measuring systems to monitor the texture of road surfaces …

Texture section (refer to: Reference section for measuring systems to monitor the texture of road surfaces)

Reference section for road markings

Road markings make a significant contribution to road safety more ...: Reference section for road markings …

Measuring vehicle for road markings (refer to: Reference section for road markings)