Pavement Management

ARAN Front view ARAN Rear view

Mission Statement

The goal of the Pavement Management Section is to provide a set of tools or methods that can assist decision-makers in finding cost-effective strategies for providing, evaluating, and maintaining pavements in a serviceable condition.


The Pavement Management Section is responsible for collecting, processing, analyzing, and reporting pavement performance data on all routes on the State maintained highway system.  The State maintained highway system is comprised of over 16,400 centerline miles of roads.  Federal reporting requirements mandate that pavement performance data be provided for each route at least once every two years.  The exception is the National Highway System (includes the Interstate Highway System), which must be provided every year.  The Automatic Road Analyzer (ARAN) is used to collect pavement performance data and high-resolution right-of-way and pavement imagery on approximately 9,500 centerline miles of roadways per year.

Data Collection

The most important data collection tool utilized in the Pavement Management Section is the ARAN.  The ARAN is an advanced data collection platform which provides pavement condition and asset data for analysis.  The ARAN is a modular data collection platform that allows the acquisition of this data at “highway speeds.”
The Pavement Management Section maintains two ARAN data collection vehicles.  The first ARAN was purchased in 1993 and the latest, most advanced ARAN was purchased in 2008.   The newest ARAN is capable of collecting the majority of the data and imagery required to determine a pavement’s condition.  Some of the attributes the ARAN can provide are: 

- Pavement smoothness
- Rutting – scanning laser based
- Joint faulting on Jointed concrete pavements
- Pavement surface macro-texture
- Pavement geometrics
- High-definition pavement images*
- Automated crack detection
- Geographic positioning system (GPS)
- Inertial navigation system
- Accurate location data
- Five camera high-definition right-of-way images
- All digital image capture systems
- Asset inventory software




*Infrared line scan pavement image capture system – eliminates shadows
The ARAN platform provides pavement images from an infrared line-scan camera that produces images at a surface resolution of 1 mm.  The infrared imaging system provides high contrast images that are totally unaffected by shadows, in fact, the system can collect images at night and produce the same quality image as if collected in noonday sun.

Data Processing

Data and imagery are typically delivered at the end of each week’s data collection cycle.  Once the data and imagery have been copied to Department computer servers, the data can then be processed with various software packages to provide data in a format ready to use with the Department’s analysis software.  There are several steps that must be completed before the data is ready for analysis.  First, the geographic location data is generated; this allows all other data items to be accurately referenced within the Department’s Geographic Information System (GIS).  All sensor measured data items are processed through vendor provided software and checked for accuracy.

Data Analysis

Once all of the data items have been processed and all database items assembled, the process of data analysis can begin.  The data is imported into the Department’s Pavement Management System where each route is broken into segments of similar characteristics. These classes of pavements are compared against one another and historical performance to determine overall performance of that class of pavements.  Overall system performance can be measured as well to provide Department decision makers a tool to determine the best, most cost-effective method of maintaining the system.

The majority of asphalt pavement surface cracking is measured by vendor provided software that can measure the extent of each crack, the average width of each crack, and the type of each crack.  The major distresses collected with the automated system are longitudinal cracking, both inside and outside the wheel paths, transverse cracking, reflective cracking, and fatigue cracking.  The results of the automated crack detection system are statistically comparable to other manual crack measurement and analysis methods. 

Some asphalt pavement surfaces, such as chip seals, and most concrete surfaced pavements are not suitable for use with the automated crack detection system.  These pavements must be “rated” with a semi-automated computer based crack detection system.  The same computer images used with the automated detection system are used with the manual detection system.  Cracks can be located on the image with the computer’s cursor, the extents are located, the average widths estimated, and the type of crack established.  The software can also be used to quantify types of asphalt pavement distresses that the automated system is unable to quantify such as surface raveling, bleeding, patches, and edge and joint distress.

The pavement distresses quantified by both the automated and semi-automated crack detection systems can be reported in a database format. The distresses can be aggregated into manageable pieces that can be readily imported into the Pavement Management database.  All of the distress data can be located by log mile or geographic location.

Data Reporting

The main tool the Pavement Management Section uses to report or share data with the Department is the Multimedia Highway Information System (MMHIS).  The MMHIS uses imagery provided from the ARAN and displays the image with corresponding data from the Pavement Management System, Road Inventory, Bridge, Safety, and Project History databases.  The MMHIS has VCR type buttons that allow users to watch “video” of a road segment, using as many as six different camera views (five right-of-way and one pavement camera), with the corresponding data dynamically attached in a separate window.  The MMHIS allows users to view a road segment without leaving the office. 

The Department manages many assets included within the roadway right-of-way besides pavements and bridges.  Some of these items include signs, sign structures, culverts, guard rails, barrier walls, and median cross-over avoidance systems.  These items add a tremendous capital cost to the roadway and managing these assets is of great importance to the Department.  The Pavement Management Section uses vendor provided software to “capture” these assets.  The software allows technicians to locate these assets on a computer screen using any of the five right-of-way camera images provided by the ARAN.  Each asset can be located (both by log mile and by geographic coordinates), condition assessed, and stored in a database for use in an asset management system.



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