The rationale behind an asphalt mix design is optimizing the binder content for the desired aggregate gradation to satisfy the specified volumetric and strength requirements. The designed asphalt mix should be durable and cost effective. The mechanical behavior of a designed asphalt mix is affected by the traffic loading and climatic variations. To improve the mechanical properties of asphalt mixes, additives are added to the base asphalt binder. These binders are called modified asphalt binders. The objectives of the present study are to compare the performance of asphalt mixes with different binders by two different mix design methods and to optimize the asphalt binder type to achieve the desired performance. Two methods of mix design namely, Marshall and Superpave mix design methods are considered. The performances of asphalt mixes viz., tensile strength, moisture damage, densification and rutting resistance were compared. The results indicated a statistically significant difference in the optimum asphalt binder content from the two mix design methods. The Marshall method of asphalt mix design is found to yield lower optimal asphalt binder content when compared to the Superpave method of mix design. The moisture susceptibility and construction densification index of asphalt mixes designed using Superpave method were found to be significantly lower than that of the mixes designed by Marshall method. Optimization using a Mixed Integer Linear Program (MILP) indicated that the polymer modified asphalt binder outperforms the requirements of engineering properties when compared to other commercial binders used in the study. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.