The International Society for Asphalt Pavements was formed in 1987 following the 6th International Conference on the Structural Design of Asphalt Pavements, held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The Asphalt Institute was a major ‘founding father’ for the society. The principal objective was to provide an organization which could take responsibility for continuing this prestigious series of conferences. Hitherto, this had been done by individuals on an ad hoc basis.

The structure of the Society was quickly established, a Board of Directors and Executive Committee formed, and the Texas Research and Development Foundation appointed to deal with the administration. A range of membership grades brought a good initial response from commercial organizations as well as individuals so that Society finances got off to a good start. There was also a fund of about $75,000 accumulated from the Sixth Conference.

During its early years, the Society concentrated on creating the infrastructure for the 7th International Conference, which was held at Nottingham in 1992. In doing this, it sought to expand the scope of the event to embrace some more practical elements of asphalt pavement engineering while maintaining the traditional coverage of high quality research and design concepts.

The Directors realized that the Society could only succeed if it had more to offer than simply a framework for the so-called “Ann Arbor Conferences”. Consequently, they set out to promote an additional series of conferences dealing with design and construction to be held on dates between those for the existing conference series. The first of these was held in Hawaii in 1990 and arranged through the offices of the National Asphalt Pavement Association.

In addition, the Directors promoted specific activities, including a conference in Baltimore on asphalt fumes in 1989, a publication on overlay design in 1990, and a “Futures” report in 1993 outlining challenges for the asphalt paving industry. They also supported, as a joint sponsor, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th International Conferences on Managing Pavements. The society continues to sponsor a major Ann Arbor-type conference, now held every four years beginning in 2002. Starting in 2004, the Society began sponsoring a focused conference dealing with specific asphalt pavement issues every four years.

The directors have an arranged meeting at least once a year for the full Board in order to process the Society’s business. Additional ad hoc meetings have been held at events where several Board members were present to review current issues.