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ARA Creates Software to Assess Permeable Pavements

Permeable Pavement Software

Engineers in ARA's Infrastructure Management Division in Toronto, Ontario, have developed a computer program to assess permeable pavements.  The software, called Permeable Design Pro, was developed by D.J. Swan and his team to help contractors design a permeable pavement that will meet the needs of specific applications.

As a result of urbanization, the flow of water is changed from allowing infiltration to forcing the water to run-off into elaborate drainage systems.  Traditional pavements block storm water from soaking back into the earth, and as a result of these large impermeable surfaces, water runoff has increased and can cause flooding and pollution in rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.  Permeable pavements differ in that they provide a path to allow the water to seep back into the earth.

Permeable interlocking concrete pavements are designed with long-term solutions in mind.  Using the "triple-bottom line," designers take into account social, economic and environmental impacts of the pavement and the effects of urbanization.  Permeable pavements allow for a reduction of impervious cover and surface water runoff — which reduces peak water drainage from storms.  Additionally, permeable pavements can cost less than traditional pavements due to the reduced need for man-made drainage systems such as storm sewers and storm water management ponds.  Other advantages are strength, durability, ease of care, and aesthetics.

The Permeable Design Pro Software is meant to facilitate a confident design for permeable interlocking concrete pavements (PICP).  It is the first of its kind to include structural and hydrological design in one platform.

The software uses traffic information, material information, reliability, and serviceability levels to assess the structural capacity of a pavement.  The user is provided with graphs and printable reports which summarize the design inputs and results.

For more information about permeable pavements and the Permeable Design Pro Software, contact Dave Hein at or visit