Committee Chair

Onyango, Mbakisya; Ghasemi, Arash

Committee Member

Owino, Joseph; Fomunung, Ignatius; Wu, Weidong


Dept. of Civil and Chemical Engineering


College of Engineering and Computer Science


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Pavement Mechanistic Empirical Design (PMED) allows users to create Virtual Weather Stations (VWS) in locations where no nearby weather stations exist. VWS quality has faced several critiques through its implementations in PMED. PMED adopts the gravity model in its VWS creation process. MATLAB codes were used in comparing the error convergence of the gravity model interpolation technique and that by a Radial Basis Function (RBF). RBF interpolation showed very fast error convergence with the increase in number of interpolation data as compared to the gravity model. Contour plots emphasized the quality of interpolation where the RBF model produced well defined contours with a wider range of output than the gravity model. PMED software was used for further assessments of the quality of its VWS and RBF VWS considering climatic summary and pavement predicted distresses outputs. In most cases, the RBF VWS outperformed the current PMED VWS outputs.


My greatest gratitude and appreciations to God for the gift of life, and wonderful people I get to meet and learn from. I extend appreciation to my advisor Dr. Mbakisya Onyango for her constant guidance and mentoring throughout my graduate studies and my stay in Chattanooga. Dr. Joseph Owino for his guidance and willingness to get me involved in multiple activities in the department. Dr. Arash Ghasemi for his great help in this thesis from determining the suitable model to use, coding lessons and for being very humble and willing to help. Dr. Ignatius Fomunung and Dr. Weidong Wu for their guidance and advice throughout my graduate studies and this thesis as my committee members. I also thank Mr. Amirehsan Ghasemi for his great help and collaboration in this thesis work, especially with the RBF model and visualization. In general, the Civil and Chemical Department has made my graduate studies to be enjoyable and memorable. I thank the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for the funding my graduate studies through the MEPDG - Climate research under my supervisor Dr. Mbakisya Onyango at UTC in collaboration with Sampson Udeh from TDOT. Last but not least in importance, I thank my parents and the Msechu clan for being a genuine and supportive family. The Semakula family and Saria Family for making me feel at home. Miss Sia for her great support, encouragement, and comfort. My colleagues and friends: Babatunde Atolagbe, Armel Boutchuen, Maxwell Omwenga, Evelyne, Grace, Dennis Stameza, Abdulazeez Lawal, Ammar Elnaiem, Dumbiri Odia, Syed Tareq, Aman, Jewel Palit and Jibril Babatunde collectively I thank you all.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Mathematical Modeling; Pavements; Radial basis functions


Pavement Mechanistic Empirical Design (PMED); Radial Basis Function; Virtual Weather Station (VWS)

Document Type

Masters theses




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