The prediction of embankment settlement is a critically important issue for the serviceability of subgrade projects, especially the post-construction settlement. A number of methods have been proposed to predict embankment settlement; however, all of these methods are based on a parameter, i.e. the initial time point. The difference of the initial time point determined by different designers can definitely induce errors in prediction of embankment settlement. This paper proposed a concept named “potential settlement” and a simplified method based on the in situ data. The key parameter “b” in the proposed method was verified using theoretical method and field data. Finally, an example was used to demonstrate the advantages of the proposed method by comparing with other methods and the observation data.