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Evaluating roadway surface rating technologies 


Authors: Bruce Belzowski, Andrew Ekstrom

The key project objective was to assess and evaluate the feasibility and accuracy of custom software used in smartphones to measure road roughness from the accelerometer data collected from smartphones and compare results with PASER (Pavement Surface and Evaluation Rating System) and IRI (International Roughness Index) measurement values collected from the same roadway segments. This project is MDOT’s first large implementation of a customized Android smartphone to collect road roughness data using a methodology developed from previous research work performed by UMTRI. Accelerometer data collection was performed via Android-based smartphones using a customized software application called DataProbe. During the project’s initial phase smartphones were installed in each of nine Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) vehicles driven by MDOT employees. These same vehicles also were used during 2012 and 2013 tocollect data on road distress using PASER Ratings for comparison. The DataProbe software application was used to collect data and transmit it to a University of Michigan Transportation Research server, where it was sorted, stored, and analyzed. All MDOT regions are represented in this analysis that compares road roughness ratings for nearly 6000 one tenth of a mile road segments. For the second phase of the project, road distress (PASER Rating) data was collected in 2014 simultaneously with an MDOT vehicle equipped with an IRI device and two DataProbe smartphones and two UMTRI vehicles equipped with five DataProbe smartphones. The analysis of the 2012 and 2013 data found that there were a number of significant predictors of IRI road roughness including: the phone and the vehicle used to collect the data, the speed of the vehicle collecting the data, the type of road surface, date of data collection, and accelerometer variance. By including quadratic terms to adjust for non-linear relationships and interact [...]

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