Dynamic Cone Penetrometer

Low Volume Roads DCP Software

Low Volume Roads DCP Software

Through a collaborative project, commissioned by AfCAP, between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa, and experienced Low Volume Road (LVR) practitioners, the original Win DCP software developed by CSIR has now been upgraded into a user friendly software tool specifically tailored to upgrading of LVRs to a paved standard using the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP). It incorporates automated procedures for analysing DCP field data from the existing pavements as well as for laboratory testing and evaluation of imported materials as inputs for the design of new pavement layers.


The Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) is a well-established, non-destructive testing device   that has been used in Africa and other regions of the world since the early 1970s for the in situ estimation of subgrade strength. Since then it has been developed through research into a full-fledged method for the structural design of low volume paved roads that avoids the use of direct correlation with the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) test. This has been achieved by utilising the cone penetration rate (DN value) directly as a design parameter rather than the less reproducible CBR value.

Under AfCAP Phase 1, the DCP-DN pavement design procedure was developed and trialled successfully in a number of countries in Africa. Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) monitoring of these sections is being carried out to collect additional in-service performance data to feed into the future revision of standards and specifications contained in current catalogues. The simplicity and ease of use of the DCP makes it ideally suited for characterising the in situ strength of existing roads as well as for designing their upgrading to a paved standard.

Software features

In the upgrading of the software, emphasis has been put on making it as intuitive and accessible as possible for the inexperienced users and a hyperlinked help file is available for this purpose.

Main features of the software include:

  • Single and multiple DCP data point analysis which enables the user to identify localised problem spots or sections, most often related to drainage problems, for which specific measures must be taken without affecting the overall design.
  • Layer Strength Diagrams (LSD) with weighted average DN values for each 150 mm in-situ layers down to a depth of 800 mm used to determine the appropriate design intervention.
  • Easy identification of uniform sections for optimised pavement design based on representative average DN values for each layer, adjusted for expected long-term pavement moisture regime.
  • Assessment of the attained pavement balance against ideal pavement balance curves.
  • A laboratory test module for testing and evaluating the strength of imported pavement materials.
  • Pre-defined report formats.

The ReCAP LVR-DCP package is well suited for road practitioners and trainees.

Important notice

Although the software automates many of the procedures that could otherwise have been performed using an Excel spreadsheet, and thus makes it possible for the designer to quickly and easily evaluate different design options, it must be emphasised that the ReCAP LVR DCP software is only a tool and is no substitute for sound engineering judgement, which must always be exercised by the designer.

Following developments and enhancements to the DCP-DN design method in 2018 and 2019, the software has also been improved to ensure it remains current and in sync with the design method. Similarly, a generic DCP-DN design manual titled “Pavement Design of Low Volume Roads using the DCP-DN Method (September 2020)” has been developed for wider application, as opposed to the previous use of the manual developed for Malawi in 2013. The ReCAP LVR DCP v1.01 design software incorporates a User Manual and updates the previous version AfCAP LVR DCP v1.03 design software to reflect the latest developments in DCP-DN design technology, as included in the generic manual mentioned above.

How to download your copy of the LVR DCP Software

The ReCAP LVR DCP v1.01 Software and software helpfile (SHF) are freely available to practitioners and can be downloaded after first registering through the register/login menu item at the top of this page. Once registered, you must then login with the username and password that you have created and proceed to download the software.

Computer system requirements

Please verify that your computer complies with the following system requirements to be able to run the software:

  • Operating systems: Windows 7, 8 and 10
  • Minimum specifications:
    • 32-bit or 64-bit processor
    • Dual-core, 2 GHz or faster processor
    • 4 GB of RAM


The upgrading of the software was a collaborative effort between CSIR (Yvette van Rensburg for programming, verification and debugging and Julius Komba for monitoring, evaluation and review) and Infra Africa (PTY) Ltd (Jon Hongve for guiding the software development and testing process and Mike Pinard for inputs to the software development life-cycle).