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Video Surveys for Road

Networks - Can They Finally Deliver?

KNE020 Work Based Project

Candidate: Matthew Ryeland


Unit Chair: Professor Fran Bullen
Work Based Supervisor: Mr Allan Tonks
KNE020 Work Based Project
Matthew Ryeland

Declarations
Declaration by the Candidate
By submitting this Report for assessment I certify that:

 this report is submitted in accordance with the CPEE Assessment Policy


www.pavementeducation.edu.au/study/our-policies
 I understand the term plagiarism, as defined in the CPEE student handbook
www.pavementeducation.edu.au/study/student-resources/student-handbook, and declare that
the attached work is entirely my own (no part of this assignment has been written by any other
person), except where quoted, cited or referenced work is duly acknowledged in the text
 this report has not been submitted for assessment previously in any other unit or course
I also understand that the original report must be retained by me and that I may be asked to provide that
original report to the Unit Chair as required. I also acknowledge that CPEE may retain digital or hard
copies of my Report. For the purposes of assessment, I give CPEE the permission to:

 Reproduce this report and provide a copy to other staff or examiners as required and/or
 Make a PDF copy of the report freely available on its website
 Take steps to authenticate the report, including communicating a copy of this report to a checking
service, which may retain a copy of the report on its database for future plagiarism checking

Signed:

Name: Matthew Ryeland

Date: 11 May 2016

Declaration by the Work Supervisor


I hereby certify to the best of my knowledge that:
 the research and writing embodied in the report are those of the candidate except where due
reference is made in the text
 any significant assistance provided during the research phase has been appropriately described
and acknowledged
 any significant editorial assistance in the writing of the report has been appropriately described
and acknowledged

Signed:

Name: Allan Tonks

Date: 12th May 2016

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Acknowledgements
The author wished to thank the following people and organisations for their support and assistance in the
research and writing of this report.

Mr Allan Tonks General Manager Australian Surface Testing


Mr Jaebum Seo Branch Manager Road Korea FEP JV Manila
Mr Christoph Eicher Principal Engineer Assets Southern Downs Regional Council
Dr. Colin Kemp Senior Consultant Cardno
Mr Colin Read Operations Manager Radar Portal Surveys Pty Ltd

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KNE020 Work Based Project
Matthew Ryeland

Abstract
In 2009 a paper at the International IPWEA conference in Melbourne was presented, titled:

“Video Surveys for Road Networks – Can They Finally Deliver?”

The paper looked at whether video surveys at the time could replace the more traditional “windscreen
surveys” for identification of defects and distresses in road pavements. The paper was aimed at Local
Government where resources are typically limited for the ongoing management of assets.

With the available technology in 2009, video surveys were limited in their usefulness for picking up
certain pavement defects, typically surface defects, such as stripping, flushing and polishing were very
difficult to identify from video data.

Cracking of the pavement was also be difficult to identify, especially cracks less than 2mm in width, due
to limitations of the available video technology.

The effectiveness of video surveys for road condition assessment also varied with the local conditions in
which the video was taken. Too bright or too dark would affect the quality of the video to be processed.
Localised shadows across the road surface would also affect the quality of data that could be collected
from the video data.

The identification of defects was completed manually by assessing each video frame and mapping the
identified defects.

At the time there was ongoing research into automated crack detection from image data, most notably
the CSIRO and NSW RTA RoadCrack system, which was patented in the United States in 2003.

With advances in video and laser technologies it is now possible to collect pavement surface data using
infrared or laser images in conjunction, instead of, or in conjunction with traditional video.

Advantages of infrared and laser image recording, include:

 No shadowing as with traditional video using the visible light spectrum;


 Surveys may be undertaken at night, or in other poor light conditions, and;
 Roughness, rutting and texture data can also be captured at the same time using the same
equipment.
This research project will revisit the question can image surveys be used as a replacement for more
traditional on site pavement defect capture. It will compare the technology available in the mid to late
2000’s used by Cardno’s DRIVE Survey System as well as other service providers of video surveys at
the same time to the newer technologies available and used in Australia today to undertake automated
and semi-automated digital image surveys for road condition collection. The report will focus on the field
data collection of image data and the advances in those technologies. It will also briefly look at the
advances made in automatic defect recognition that is now possible with the improvements in image
data capture technologies.

This project is not a technical evaluation of the technologies available today for data capture and the
subsequent analysis and reporting of road condition. It is a comparison of the change and development
in technologies and re asking the question if these new technologies can replace more traditional survey
methods used by local government for condition reporting of their road networks.

As well in advances in the image capture technology, there have been significant advances in the
processing of the image data, where crack detection can now be completed automatically by some

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software systems developed by suppliers on a variety of surfaces including asphalt, concrete and spray
sealed bitumen, as used throughout Australia.

There are many advantages of undertaking an automated, or semi-automated defect assessment of a


road network, but if too many compromises are required by the road agency, is it worth changing from
the traditional on site surveys, whether that be foot or “windscreen” surveys, particularly for Local
Government, where the additional costs associated with the new data collection technologies may
outweigh the additional benefits possible.

The advances in the automated defect detection have prioritised cracking as the most important defect
to measure. Whilst cracking is an important performance indicator used in roads, it is not necessarily the
only indicator required by local government. If the system cannot detect all the required defects, like
edge break and drop, delamination, shoving or unsealed roads then these technologies may not provide
local government with a solution. The deficiencies in the automated detection may require the end user
to undertake a survey to identify the defects that are not detected by the software automatically. The
additional analyses to identify all the required defect types will add to the overall cost of the survey. This
may then not represent value for money to the end user.

Developments in automated defect identification, concentrating on crack detection, are more aimed
towards state level road management agencies. The point to point road configuration typical of State
managed roads leads itself for the type of data collection and associated defect detection that has been
developed over the last few years, starting with the RTA’s RoadCrack system and progressing to
Pavemetric’s LCMS and LRIS.

Local Government needs ensure that they get value for money for services provided. They need to
make sure that the extra costs to produce the data provides them with good value for their investment.

Smaller local governments may not be able to justify the extra cost over more traditional methods of
road condition assessment. This is particularly true if they are not a “mature” organisation in terms of
asset management and don’t have the AIMS in place to make the most of the data available from these
assessments, or the resources to maintain the AIMS and the data required.

So, as per 2009, the answer to the question; Video Surveys for Road Networks – Can They Finally
Deliver?

Is again; It Depends.

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Table of Contents
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Objectives 1
1.2 Technology Development – Case Study, Cardno DRIVE 2
2 Literature Review 5
2.1 Purpose and Scope of Review 5
2.2 Purpose and Methods of Road Condition Assessment 5
2.3 Assessment Methods for Road Condition 7
2.4 Defects Identified by Visual Survey 7
2.5 Technologies used for Image Data Collection 9
2.6 Summary of Literature Review Findings 10
3 Road Condition Data Requirements 11
3.1 Current Situation for Road Condition Data 13
3.2 Survey Methodologies 18
3.2.1 Asset Management Kit – Appendix C: Roads Condition
Evaluation Manual for Queensland (LGAQ, TMR) 19

3.2.2 Practice Note 9.1 How to: Assess Road Pavement Condition
(IPWEA 2016) 22

3.2.3 Manual Assessment (Foot Survey) 24

3.2.4 In vehicle “Windscreen” Survey 24

3.2.5 Image Survey 24

4 Comparison of Image Data Capture Technologies 25


4.1 Previous Image Data Capture Technologies 28
4.1.1 Condition Data Processing From Images 30

4.2 Current Image Data Capture Technologies 32


4.2.1 Condition Data Processing From Images 36

5 Summary of Image Data Technologies 43


6 Conclusion 45

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Figures
Figure 1: Original DRIVE Survey Vehicle, Joint Venture with Road Tek
(Cardno) 3

Figure 2: Second Generation Survey Vehicle (Cardno) 4

Figure 3: Video Viewing Software – DRIVE II (Cardno) 5

Figure 4: Key Points for Road Pavement Condition Rating System (IPWEA,
2016, Practice Notes 9, Section 9.0, page 18) 14

Figure 5: Condition Grading Tables for Sealed Road Pavement Assets


(IPWEA, 2016, Practice Notes 9, Section 9.0, Table 3, page 19) 15

Figure 6: Condition Grading Tables for Unsealed Road Pavement Assets


(IPWEA, 2015, Practice Notes 9, Section 9.0, Table 4, page 20) 16

Figure 7: Asset Degradation Curve (IPWEA, 2015, Practice Notes 9, Section


9.0, Figure 3, page 21) 17

Figure 8: Pavement Cross Section Elements (IPWEA , 2016, Practice Notes


9.1, Figure 5, page 16) 20

Figure 9: Calculation of Road Condition Score (LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition


Evaluation Manual Appendix C – Asset management Kit, page C-18) 20

Figure 10: Manual Assessment of Ride Quality (LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition


Evaluation Manual Appendix C – Asset management Kit, Table 6, page C-20)
21

Figure 11: Visual Assessment of Profile (LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition


Evaluation Manual Appendix C – Asset management Kit, Table 8 and Figure
6, page C-22) 22

Figure 12: Example of Calculation of Profile rating (LGAQ/TMR Roads


Condition Evaluation Manual Appendix C – Asset management Kit, page C-
22) 22

Figure 13: Road Condition Survey Vehicle, Laser Profilometer and Cameras,
circa 2009 (Australian Surface Testing Pty Ltd) 25

Figure 14: Integrated Survey Vehicle and Services (ARRB Service


Brochure) 26

Figure 15: Laser Profile survey routing (Ryeland, 2009) 27

Figure 16: Video survey routing (Ryeland, 2009) 28

Figure 17: Hawkeye 2000 series Asset View Overview (ARRB Service
Brochure, 2006) 29

Figure 18: Hawkeye 2000 series Asset View Cameras (ARRB Service
Brochure, 2006) 29

Figure 19: Hawkeye Software, video (ARRB) 30

Figure 20: Cardno Video Viewer, MapInfo (Cardno) 31


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Figure 21: Cardno DRIVE, creating asset table in GIS (Cardno) 32

Figure 22: Road Condition Survey Vehicle, Laser Profilometer and Cameras,
circa 2015 (Australian Surface Testing Pty Ltd) 33

Figure 23: Pavemetrics LRIS (www.pavemetrics.com) 34

Figure 24: Pavemetrics LRIS fitted to Survey Vehicle


(www.pavemement.com.au) 34

Figure 25: PaveScout stereo image system (www.radarportal.com.au) 35

Figure 26: PaveScout stereo image system fitted to survey vehicle


(https://www.linkedin.com/company/radar-portal-systems) 35

Figure 27: Portal 4D software (http://www.radarportal.com.au/portal4d) 38

Figure 28: Hawkeye : Insight overview (https://www.hawkeyeinsight.com/) 39

Figure 29: Hawkeye : Insight view of Automatic Crack Detection Imagery


(https://www.hawkeyeinsight.com/) 39

Figure 30: Portal 4D, comparison of natural lighting to photometric artificial


lighting from PaveScout survey vehicle. 42

Figure 31: Portal 4D, elimination of false positives (Radar Portal 2014, .How
to Use Portal 4D for Surface Marking) 43

Tables
Table 1 – Road Network Breakdown LVRC and SDRC 13

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Abbreviations
AIMS Asset Information and Management System

ARRB Australian Road Research Board

DRIVE Digital Road Inventory Video Environment

GIS Geographic Information System

GPS Global Positioning System

HD High Definition

HDD Hard Disk Drive

IPWEA Institute of Public Works Engineers Australia

IRI International Roughness Index

LCMS Laser Crack Measurement System

LNG Liquid Natural Gas

LGAQ Local Government Association of Queensland Inc.

LRIS Laser Road Imaging System

LVRC Lockyer Valley Regional Council

NAASRA National Association of Australian State Road Authorities

NRM NAASRA Roughness Meter

PARMMS Pavement and Road Maintenance and Management System

PMS Pavement Management System

POE Power Over Ethernet

RTA Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW

SDRC Southern Downs Regional Council

TMR Queensland department of Transport and Main Roads

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1 Introduction
In 2009 I presented a Paper at the International Institute of Public Works Engineers Australia (IPWEA)
conference in Melbourne titled:

“Video Surveys for Road Networks – Can They Finally Deliver?”

The paper examined the available technology at the time for image data capture of road networks for
use in undertaking road condition assessments, rather than using the traditional “windscreen” or foot
survey methods common at the time.

With the available technology in 2009, video surveys were limited in their usefulness for picking up
certain pavement defects, typically surface defects, such as stripping, flushing and polishing were very
hard to identify from the available video images. Cracking of the pavement could also be very difficult to
pick up due to limitations of the available video technology.

The aim of the project is to revisit the question:

Video Surveys for Road Networks – Can They Finally Deliver?”

In revisiting the question above, the project will evaluate the technologies available in the marketplace
today and look at the suitability of these technologies for Local Government in Australia to see if they
will provide value for money and be able to replace, or augment, current road condition assessment
methods used by Local Government.

The capabilities of visual data collection systems will be compared against the needs of a road network
manager for the condition data collected by these systems as well as to the general requirements of
various industry guidelines such as the Austroads Guide to Asset Management, particularly, Part 5 –
Pavement Performance and the recently published IPWEA Practice Note 9; Road Pavements (Visual
Assessment).

1.1 Objectives
As described above the objective of this report is to examine the technologies available for image data
collection for road networks and the suitability of those technologies for Local Governments in Australia.

In revisiting the question, the paper will undertake a review of the technologies now available for image
data capture for road condition surveys, the methods of post survey condition assessment of the
recorded image data for the road network, and evaluation against the requirements of the target client,
in this case Local Government.

In 2009 the available image capture technology could be used for network road condition assessment,
but there were limits to the effectiveness of the image data, especially for identification of cracks,
ravelling and flushing type defects. It was important that the end user, typically Local Government, was
aware of the limitations of the technology and these surveys were used to complement and enhance
existing road management methods used by the individual Councils.

This project will examine changes in video technologies used for road surface condition assessment
and assess whether these changes have increased the usefulness of these types of surveys for the
road network manager in Local Government for long term asset management planning and
programming of maintenance and rehabilitation works.

With advances in video and laser technologies it is now possible to collect pavement surface data using
laser and infrared images, in addition to the images captured by traditional visible light image capture.

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There are advantages in using laser and infrared image recording, including:

 Reduced shadowing compared with traditional image capture using the visible light spectrum;
 Surveys may be undertaken at night if only infrared or laser images are to be collected, or in other
poor light conditions, and;
 Roughness, rutting and texture data can also be captured at the same time using the same
equipment if using the Pavemetrics laser image capture system.
There are many advantages of undertaking an automated, or semi-automated defect assessment of a
road network, but if too many compromises are required by the road agency, is it worth changing from
the traditional on site surveys, whether that be foot or “windscreen” surveys?

Can the new image capture systems replace the more traditional field data capture methods, and what
compromises to data collection and analysis are needed by the local government road network
manager?

As well in advances in the image capture technology, there have been significant advances in the
processing of the image data, where crack detection can now be completed automatically by some
software systems on a variety of surfaces including asphalt, concrete and spray sealed bitumen, as
used throughout Australia.

There are many advantages of undertaking an automated, or semi-automated defect assessment of a


road network, but if too many compromises are required by the road agency, is it worth changing from
the traditional on site surveys, whether that be foot or “windscreen” surveys.

Is the cost of these new technologies prohibitive to local government for the additional data available
over the older style video surveys, or even the more traditional “windscreen” type surveys when the
expectation from ratepayers and elected officials is to do more with less?

This is a decision that will have to be made by each Local Government as they ascertain what method
of road condition assessment will provide them and their customers with the best value for money.

1.2 Technology Development – Case Study, Cardno DRIVE


From 2003 until 2012 I worked at Cardno, for all but 12 months, within the Management Services
Business Unit where I ended up being responsible for the development, marketing and management of
Cardno’s DRIVE video survey system over three versions of image data capture systems.

The first system used three cameras at what would now be very low resolution, approximately 640x480
pixels, for recording colour video to the front, sides and rear of the vehicle, depending on client
requirements. A fourth monochrome line scan camera, 2048x1 pixels, could be used to view the
pavement behind the vehicle. The data from the front cameras was recorded at intervals set by the
operator, depending on survey type and camera, from approximately four metre to ten metre intervals.
The line scan camera captured data every one millimetre or so. Image frames were georeferenced
using GPS and distance data recorded at the same time as the video. This system was used from 2003
through to 2006.

With this system surface defects could be identified and mapped from the video into a Geographic
Information System (GIS). Cracks >2mm in width could be identified and mapped from the image data.

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Figure 1: Original DRIVE Survey Vehicle, Joint Venture with Road Tek (Cardno)
The second generation of survey vehicle used full HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels) “handicams”. The
system could record data from up to five cameras at once, generally three cameras to the front and
sides and two cameras to the rear or road surface depending on client requirements. This data was post
processed back in the office to produce image files where every frame used was geotagged for use in
the DRIVE Video Viewer. Again, using the DRIVE II software developed by Cardno, surface defects
could be identified and mapped into a GIS directly from the image data. As per the first generation
system, cracks greater than 2mm in width could be identified and mapped.

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Figure 2: Second Generation Survey Vehicle (Cardno)
The third generation of DRIVE utilises power over Ethernet (POE) cameras, at a resolution of
1600x1200 pixels, to record image data based on the distance travelled as recorded by the GPS
receiver in the survey vehicle. The video images are processed “on the fly” allowing the image data to
be supplied to the client as soon as the field work has been completed. Like the previous version, five
cameras are generally used to record image data, though six cameras have been used. Road surface
defects can be identified and mapped from the image data into a geographic information system (GIS)
using the DRIVE II software. Like the previous version, cracks greater than 2mm wide can be identified
and mapped.

With the limits in identifying road surface defects, the DRIVE system was developed and marketed to
Local Government as a solution to identify and map road side assets. The strength of the DRIVE
system was the ability to map assets visible in the video directly into a GIS table and complete data
entry within the GIS using drop down menus and images to assist the operators. An operator could
quite easily capture over 100km of road assets in a day in a rural environment for up to 10 asset
classes. The system was also very effective for road network segmentation and asset inventory or
register creation or audit.

The DRIVE system was also used by various clients, both government and private, for pre and post
dilapidation surveys of roads. In particular the proposed construction and haulage roads, some 3500km,
for LNG projects in Central Queensland.

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Figure 3: Video Viewing Software – DRIVE II (Cardno)

2 Literature Review

2.1 Purpose and Scope of Review


The main purpose of the literature review is to briefly describe and investigate current visual road
condition assessment practices, particularly using automated and semi-automated methodologies
utilising image data collected for visual road condition surveys, with a focus on what is occurring in
Australia, whilst considering international developments in the technologies.

It is by no means a complete academic literature review that attempts to cover all aspects of the topic,
rather the review was undertaken to identify and briefly describe current road condition practices in use
by road condition data suppliers to road agencies and road managers at the present time, particularly
for Local Government who are responsible for some 80% of the roads constructed in Australia.

The scope of the review includes:

 Visual Road Condition Survey methods;


 Defects captured by visual and automated and semi-automated assessment, and;
 The different technologies employed by suppliers.

2.2 Purpose and Methods of Road Condition Assessment


Condition assessment surveys have developed from visual inspections for prioritising and selecting
maintenance treatments for roads to an important tool for many asset management functions from

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assessment of current condition, to calculation of remaining life and valuation of the road network as
well as longer term performance monitoring and forecasting.

Some road condition performance indicators have been well defined and specified for both extent and
severity, such as road roughness, rutting and cracking.

Roughness measurement of roads was developed in the early 1980’s. Research was undertaken by the
United States National Cooperative Highway Research Program to help road agencies improve the use
of roughness measurement equipment. The World Bank further continued the work to determine how
the comparison, or conversion of data obtained from different countries involved in World Bank projects
could be undertaken to provide a method of producing data that could be compared between different
countries.

There are two main units used in Australia for the calculation of road roughness, the International
Roughness Index (IRI, m/km) or NAASRA roughness meter counts (NRM, counts/km). The road
roughness is generally measured by either a mechanical device, such as a bump indicator or ARRB’s
roughometer, or by, laser profilometer, which may also be used to measure rutting and the texture of a
road surface.

The capture of roughness, rutting and surface texture data by means of automated laser data collection
methods is outside the scope of this project report.

Visual condition assessment of the road surface to provide a condition rating is not yet defined as one
standard. Though, this is starting to change, particularly in Australia with the introduction of the IPWEA’s
Practice Notes 9: Road Pavements (Visual Assessment) and Practice Note 9.1: How to Assess Road
Pavement Conditions, which has only just been published in March 2016.

From the IPWEA 2016 Practice Note 9.1 How to: Assess Road Pavement Condition Section 2.0
Background:

“Condition ratings are used to determine the remaining useful physical life (RUL) of an asset in
the road valuation process, and are also integrally linked to the formulation of long term renewal
programs. Condition assessments are used are used to plan renewal works (reseals, gravel
resheets, rehabilitation and reconstruction) on larger sections of road by assisting with the
timing of these activities. Condition rating is also an important input into the risk assessment of
road networks.

Publications such as RoCond 90 prepared by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in 1990
have been widely used for road condition assessment, but the condition assessment
methodology in RoCond 90 is more suitable for advanced users. Small rural local governments
have found it to be too resource intensive for regular use. Many local governments and data
collection contractors have developed their own condition data collection manuals.

The lack of standard nationally accepted methodology has led to large discrepancies in the
evaluation of road condition, between valuations within Councils and across Council
boundaries. Road condition rating is a critical part of the whole asset management system. It is
therefore vitally important to reduce the amount of variation both within Council and across the
region when it comes to the condition rating of road assets.”

There are various methods used to identify surface defects and the calculation of an overall condition
rating of the road based on the type and severity of the identified defects. Some ratings are based on a
100 point scale to rate the road condition with the various defects types given a weighting based on the
importance of that defect to the performance of the road. Other systems are based on the area of
surface defects identified in a road segment. Road agencies throughout Australia use different road
condition reporting methodologies, as is done throughout the World.

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For example, the Philippines Department of Public Works and Highways uses a 100 point rating system
with different ratings and weightings for different defect types for asphalt, concrete and unsealed
pavements to calculate an overall score for the road segment, where the higher the score out of 100,
the better the road.

IPWEA Practice Note 9 recommends a condition rating based on the area of surface defects compared
to the trafficable area of the road Segment, where a rating of 1 has no defects and a rating 5 has more
than 20% of the trafficable area of the segments with identified defects.

It must be remembered that these condition assessment surveys are primarily for longer term
programming of renewal and replacement works for the road network assessed and not as a means of
identifying immediate maintenance issues for the road network.

2.3 Assessment Methods for Road Condition


Visual assessment of Road Condition can be broadly classified into three methodologies:

 Manual rating on foot – walking the road to identify surface defects;


 Manual rating from Vehicle – slowly driving along the road to identify surface defects, and;
 Rating from image data – post rating of the road, using automated, semi-automated or manual
methods to identify defects using image data.
There are advantages and disadvantages for each of the three methods listed above. The main
disadvantage of all the visual rating methods is the subjectivity of rating the defects. With the use of
image data the subjectivity of rating can be minimised as raters can be trained on the same sections of
road. Also audits can be undertaken on the image data knowing that the condition of the road will be
same no matter what time the audit of the image data is undertaken.

Over the last few years, condition rating of road surfaces has moved from the more traditional methods
of walking the road and “windshield” surveys to post rating the road surface using image data collected
for the whole network. The main advantages of the image surveys are:

 Safety – the survey vehicle collects the data at normal road speeds, does not need any special
traffic management and does not expose the raters to traffic or extremes in weather such as heat.
 Speed – typical distances for data collection by manual rating is around 20km per day for
windshield survey. Field data collection for image surveys are generally over 100 lane km for rural
areas and 40km per day for urban areas depending on the data collection system used and the
scope of work to be completed. Post rating is generally around 20km per day per operator.
 Auditability – the post rating by image can be audited at any time using the exact same data that
was used to rate the road.

2.4 Defects Identified by Visual Survey


Typically, visual assessment of road condition identifies defects on sealed pavements. Local surface
defects can be defined as a localised failure which contributes to the breakdown of the surface
condition.

Typical surface defects identified and recorded for flexible sealed pavements are:

 Cracking;
• Block;
• Crocodile or Alligator;

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• Transverse;
• Longitudinal;
• Meandering;
 Potholes;
 Deformation;
• Shoving, Plastic flow;
• Depression and heave;
• Corrugations;
 Edge break;
 Edge drop off;
 Delamination;
 Stripping;
 Ravelling;
 Flushing;
 Patching;
 Polishing;
The different condition assessment methods described above have advantages and disadvantages for
the identification of the various surface defects.

Most available data describes the measures used to rate the surface and examples of defect types,
IPWEA Practice Note 9 and Local Government Association of Queensland Inc. (LGAQ), Queensland
Government department of transport and Main Roads (TMR) Asset Management Kit, but these guides
do not provide potential users of the technology a standardised methodology for using post rating
techniques from video data.

Each supplier generally has their own data capture systems and software. Whilst the basic concepts
used are very similar, each supplier has developed their own solutions to the various problems
encountered when undertaking automated or semi-automated road condition data capture.

The methods used to rate the road network are determined by the suppliers, and in some cases the
client has to modify their requirements rather than the supplier provide the data in the format actually
needed by the road network manager.

Post rating of road condition using video image data the following defects can be difficult to identify:

 Stripping;
 Ravelling;
 Flushing, and;
 Polishing;
This is due to the limitations of the cameras when completing manual collection from cameras that face
the direction of travel, or are not pointed directly at the road surface when used in manual collection, or
when the cameras are pointed directly at the road surface for semi-automated or automated data
collection the apparent depth of field of the imagery makes it very difficult to identify.

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2.5 Technologies used for Image Data Collection
The technologies used by the suppliers of road condition data for post rating of the road network has
improved over the years with both improvements in camera resolution and types and image technology
that utilises the electromagnetic spectrum other than visible light.

For visible light technology camera resolution has increased from typical resolutions of 640x480 pixels
of the early 2000’s to better than full HD resolutions in excess of 1920x1440 pixels. The actual
resolutions depend on the advances in camera manufacturers for visible light image recording.

In addition to visible light data capture there are various systems now available that capture images
using infrared and laser, plus the use of LiDAR for road condition data capture is progressing, though
currently not yet suitable for surface detect detection such as cracking.

The use of infrared and laser images for data collection makes the automated and semi-automated
detection of crack defects to narrower widths achievable than with previous video detection systems.
With the new technologies crack detection down to widths of 1mm is now possible. Previously the
minimum widths of cracking that could be reliably identified was around 2mm and dependant on the
quality of video and the conditions at the time of data capture.

The company that has arguably made the biggest advances in the use of laser imagery for road
condition surveys is Pavemetrics. Based in Canada, Pavemetrics have developed a laser crack
measurement system that records high definition three dimensional profiles of the road surface for a full
lane width, four metres. The system can also be used to identify ravelling in the road surface as well as
record rutting and roughness data for the road surface and road geometry such as slope and cross fall.

The Pavemetrics laser crack measurement system is used around the world. In Australia and New
Zealand, companies that utilise the Pavemetrics system include ARRB, Pavement Management
Services and ROMDAS/Data Collection Services.

With the improvement in image quality and sources, visible light, infrared and laser image recording,
there has also been improvements in the data capture from the image data. In 2009, the majority of
defect data was manually identified from the image data and entered into either a spatial or aspatial
dataset by an operator or surveyor.

From the late 1990’s the CSIRO and NSW RTA developed the Road Crack system to detect and map
cracking in the road surface using image data, Copcic et al (2014). Although this service was
commercially available to potential users outside the NSW RTA from the early 2000’s it was not widely
used, if at all by local government for road condition surveys.

With the Pavemetrics Laser Crack Measurement System (LCMS) the identification of the following
defects can now be undertaken automatically by the software:

 Cracking;
 Potholes, and
 Ravelling.
The Pavemetrics LCMS system is used by ARRB and Pavement management Services for some of
their survey vehicles in Australia, and ROMDAS in New Zealand for the provision of automated crack
detection services for road management organisations such as state and local government bodies.

Radar Portal Systems, a Brisbane based company has also developed their own laser crack detection
system that requires manual analysis to map cracks identified in the image data collected.

It must be remembered that these advances in automated defect detection have been primarily for the
identification and location of cracking defects in the road surface. The detection of other road defects
has not been a priority of the research undertaken by most. Whilst cracks are arguably one of the most
important defect types to capture and manage for maximising the life of a road pavement, they are not

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the only defects that need to assessed and identified when undertaking a visual road condition
assessment.

It can be seen from the literature available from the suppliers of road condition assessment that the
target market for their services is mainly National and State government level road management and
owner organisations, as the early detection of fine cracking is the priority for these organisations as it
enables the organisation to better manage the timing of costly renewal and replacement works
throughout the life cycle of assets with very long design and useful lives.

2.6 Summary of Literature Review Findings


A summary of the findings of the literature review is as follows:

 Most literature found deals with the need for road condition assessment and the defects to be
identified. There has been some research on the effectiveness of different survey methods,
though not much discussion how the shortcomings of the different methods can be overcome
with current technologies.
 The actual methods to identify and rate severity of defects types is covered in general terms only
and not for specific collection methods used, i.e. walking, windscreen or image. Though the new
Practice Notes 9.1 for visual road condition assessment published by the IPWEA do address this
for Australia, showing examples of the defects to be collected and how they are to be included in
a road condition rating system.
 Information from suppliers is very general and more for marketing purposes than research
purposes. This is understandable as most are proprietary systems independently developed for
commercial use.
 There is no standard method for reporting road condition based on visual assessment. In Australia
Austroads and the IPWEA provide guides for road condition assessment, but road managers are
not required to follow these for the data captured or how the condition is reported.
 The advantages of using image surveys to post rate road condition is understood and throughout
the world more road management organisations are specifying road condition assessments to be
completed using image survey techniques.
 There has been much research undertaken in the use of lasers to capture cracking data in
addition to rutting and roughness data for road condition surveys.
 Research is continuing in the use of lasers to detect other defects such as ravelling and stripping
in conjunction with the recording of texture data for the road surface. Though this research is as
side benefit to the ongoing work being undertaken for the automated detection of cracks in a
pavement surface.
 The road condition industry looks to be moving away from traditional video technology to laser
images to undertake road condition assessment using both automated, semi-automated and
manual assessment solutions.
 Whilst the new laser technologies allow crack detection of crack widths down to 1mm, there will
always be a place for the traditional video data capture, especially for road side furniture and
asset capture and monitoring.
 At the current time other defect types such as polishing, flushing and stripping in a spray seal
surface are still very difficult to identify from video or other image data.
 In time, the use of LiDAR in conjunction with developments in the existing 3D laser scanning
technologies may make video data capture obsolete, however there will always be issues with
the completeness of data capture due to obstructions during the survey, for example other traffic
or parked vehicles.
 The research material only deals with sealed pavement.

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3 Road Condition Data Requirements
The scope of this report does not include the measurement of roughness or rutting for road segments.
In Australia, these performance measures are generally undertaken by automated surveys using laser
profilometers by consulting firms for local government.

Local surface defects in a road can be defined as:

“Local surface defects, for rating purposes, are localised failures, which contribute to the
breakdown of the surface condition. A localised defect is USUALLY associated with deformation of
the pavement surface.

Local surface defects include temporary or failed patches, shoving, localised rutting or cracking,
potholes or any other localised condition, which contributes to surface and pavement failure. In
Asphaltic Concrete pavements ravelling and laminations are considered defects.” LGAC, TMR,
Asset management Kit - Appendix C

Road condition surveys, as described in Section 2 above, are used the identification of defects in the
road surface for monitoring the road surface condition for longer term planning and management of the
road surface for the full lifecycle of the road.

It is well worth repeating the extract from the IPWEA (2016) Practice Note 9.1 How to: Assess Road
Pavement Condition Section 2.0 Background:

“Condition ratings are used to determine the remaining useful physical life (RUL) of an asset in
the road valuation process, and are also integrally linked to the formulation of long term renewal
programs. Condition assessments are used are used to plan renewal works (reseals, gravel
resheets, rehabilitation and reconstruction) on larger sections of road by assisting with the
timing of these activities. Condition rating is also an important input into the risk assessment of
road networks.

Publications such as RoCond 90 prepared by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in 1990
have been widely used for road condition assessment, but the condition assessment
methodology in RoCond 90 is more suitable for advanced users. Small rural local governments
have found it to be too resource intensive for regular use. Many local governments and data
collection contractors have developed their own condition data collection manuals.

The lack of standard nationally accepted methodology has led to large discrepancies in the
evaluation of road condition, between valuations within Councils and across Council
boundaries. Road condition rating is a critical part of the whole asset management system. It is
therefore vitally important to reduce the amount of variation both within Council and across the
region when it comes to the condition rating of road assets.”

Whilst most research in using image data for automated defect recognition and reporting is focussed on
crack detection in the pavement surface, there are many other defect types that need to be assessed to
gain a full appreciation of the condition of a road pavement for both the short term and longer term
management of the road.

With limits on the width of the image data that can be collected by the new laser systems used for
automated defect collection, usually around four metres maximum, quite often the measurement of
defects outside of the wheel paths of a standard vehicle is beyond the capability of these systems. This
would generally not meet the requirements of local government who require the collection of defects
outside the trafficable width of a road surface also be collected, such as edge break and edge drop, as
well as defects in both sealed and unsealed shoulders.

Using automated crack detection methods and systems may mean that other defect types may or may
not be identified and recorded, depending on the capabilities of the data capture system used and the

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scope of the works undertaken. Particularly as this technology is primarily used on sealed pavements
only. Local Government areas may have large proportions of their road networks made up of unsealed
roads, particularly those in regional and rural areas outside of the main urban centres within Australia.

Priorities between road management organisations may also differ. For State Government road
organisations, the early detection of cracking may be the highest priority in collecting road condition
data. Whereas for a local government area, other defects, such as edge break or edge drop may be a
higher priority than the early detection of minor cracking.

Typically, State Government road managers will be better resourced to make full use of the modelling
capabilities of predictive pavement management systems (PMS) such as HDM4. In these predictive
models, cracking is an important factor in the creation of predictive deterioration models. These State
owned and managed organisations, generally, are also much better resourced than local government to
undertake regular road condition assessments. State Government road departments will also have a
very low, if any, lengths of unsealed roads to manage compared to Local Government.

As an example of local government priorities, the Principal Engineer, Assets at Southern Downs
regional Council (SDRC) in South East Queensland, Mr Christoph Eicher has the following problems in
regard to managing the performance of the road network:

“We currently have low confident accuracy pavement depth data throughout the network, which in
the future- if it was more accurate- can add important information to better pavement
management. We are not there yet.

The laser data has less human factor subjectivity from assessor to assessor and bring more
consistency into the formulas we use to derive condition ratings.

I have condition rated separately Pavement and Seal.

An overall condition rating does make no scientific sense, because we can have in Stanthorpe
excellent pavement on granite gravel and the seal is falling apart due to age, and in the black soil
country the pavement is causing the failure when the seal is stressed, but holding the deformed
road together.

Therefore for a council report etc. who wants to know, what is the overall condition rating of the
road, I choose to use the lowest rating between Pavement and Seal and qualify the cause.”
(email from Mr.Christoph Eicher, 21 march 2016)

Another Local Government in the South East Queensland Region is Lockyer Valley Regional Council
(LVRC). LVRC is a relatively small Council with some 1400km of roads under its stewardship. From the
LVRC Infrastructure Works and Services Asset Maintenance Manual V4, 2014:

“The Lockyer Valley Regional Council’s ability to maintain its assets is limited by the availability
of resources both physical and financial.”

“By utilising a risk management approach council is able to mitigate risks to the council and
community through the proper identification of defects, prioritisation of repairs and the planned
approach to remedial action.”

Recording of defects, other than cracking, such as edge break and edge drop may be a much higher
priority for Local Government, as these defect types represent higher risk to the safety of the road users
and ultimately to the organisation.

It must be remembered that the primary aim of any road manager is to:

 To provide a safe, reliable and accessible road network to the community;


 The road network is to be maintained to an acceptable level of service to the community, and
 To minimise the cost of maintaining the road network over its entire life, in line with sound
economic and financial management principles.

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Local Government need to undertake condition assessments of their whole road networks, which will
also include the unsealed roads within their road networks to be able to properly plan and manage the
long term renewal and replacement programs of all the roads under their custodianship.

For the two Councils in the examples above, the breakdown of their road networks are shown in Table 1
below. For SDRC, approximately 56% of the road network is made up of unsealed roads, and for LVRC
unsealed roads make up approximately 34% of the road network. This makes up a large portion of
roads that are not suitable for condition rating using the automated and semi-automated defect
detection systems that have been developed for the detection of cracks within the road pavement
surface. For most councils, both sealed and unsealed roads require condition assessments to be
undertaken and budgeted for.

Table 1 – Road Network Breakdown LVRC and SDRC


Council Road Type Distance (km)
Sealed Roads 922 (66%)
Lockyer Valley Regional
Unsealed Roads 472 (34%)
Council (LVRC)
Total Roads 1,394
Sealed Roads 1,337 (43.5%)
Southern Downs Regional
Unsealed Roads 1,737 (56.5%)
Council (SDRC)
Total Roads 3,074

As a result of local conditions and priorities for local government, any road condition assessments
undertaken must provide a solution that best meets their needs.

3.1 Current Situation for Road Condition Data


Historically, road condition assessment has been inconsistent in terms of methods used and the
application of the road condition data throughout Australia. This makes the aggregation of collected
condition information and benchmarking between road management bodies, particularly Local
Government, near impossible.

There have been some visual condition assessment methods published that are used widely as a basis
for road condition data collection and rating, such as Rocond 90 and Urcond 90 published by the NSW
RTA, and the Road Condition Evaluation Manual for Queensland, published by the LGAC and TMR,
which is based on Rocond 90. However, with many Local Governments using their own systems that
meet their needs for resources and management tools used, there is still no consistent recommended
approach to be used by road managers throughout Australia to assess the overall condition of their
roads, particularly for road surface defects.

The IPWEA have recognised this and in 2015 released practice Note 9: Road Pavements (Visual
Assessment) as a guide to and tool for road managers to be able to assess the condition of their roads
with consistency to a well-defined list of defect types, and associated severity for those defects.

The Practice Note also provides readers with the tools to analyse and report on the collected data from
the condition assessment, the importance of maintaining the condition data collected, both for ongoing
updating of the data and also data correction where needed.

Finally, the practice Notes details a condition rating system that can be used by any organisation, which
is easy to understand and provides an objective measure of the condition of the road assets. The
condition rating system can also develop with the organisation to take advantage of better quality of
data and more data collected as the organisation progresses along the “Asset Management” journey.
The Practice Note describes a core approach (Section 9.1) and an advance approach (Section 9.2).

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Figure 4: Key Points for Road Pavement Condition Rating System (IPWEA, 2016, Practice Notes
9, Section 9.0, page 18)

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Figure 5: Condition Grading Tables for Sealed Road Pavement Assets (IPWEA, 2016, Practice
Notes 9, Section 9.0, Table 3, page 19)

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Figure 6: Condition Grading Tables for Unsealed Road Pavement Assets (IPWEA, 2015, Practice
Notes 9, Section 9.0, Table 4, page 20)

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Figure 7: Asset Degradation Curve (IPWEA, 2015, Practice Notes 9, Section 9.0, Figure 3, page 21)
From the IPWEA, (2015) Practice Note 9; road Pavements Visual Assessment:

“It is of interest to note that a report prepared by Jeff Roorda and Associates for Local Government
Victoria entitled ‘Guidelines for Measuring and Reporting the Condition of road Assets – May 2006’
quotes from an Austroads report IR – 28/02 as follows:

‘Austroads conducted a survey of councils throughout Australia to establish types of road


condition measures. This survey was followed by an international and local literature search to
establish best practice guidelines. 53% of all councils across Australia responded to the survey
and their responses are summarised below.

• 71% of councils indicated that they collected some form of road condition data. The
percentage was higher for urban councils (92%) than for rural councils (55%)
• 97% of those that collected condition data employed visual assessment methods. In
contrast 43% collected roughness, although only half used automated means and 33%
collected rut depth.
• Very few councils collect structural capacity, skid resistance and surface texture data.
• 65% of councils have a pavement management system (PMS) which by and large
defined the road condition measures adopted by those councils. The variety of
pavement management systems used with different data requirements makes the
comparison of road condition data across Australia very difficult.’
The Austroads Guide to Pavement technology part 5: pavement Evaluation and Treatment
Design provides advice for the investigation of existing sealed road pavements and the
selection and design of pavement strategies and treatments.”
“This practice note will build on those definitions to provide a series of photographs that will
more clearly define a consistent five point condition score. This will introduce some consistency
into the visual assessment scoring process.”
“Improvements in visual assessment will aid asset managers in leading the infrastructure
maintenance debate with confidence. The results will assist their organisations by incorporating
condition assessment as one of the key elements of decision making. Relating proposed road
expenditure to levels of service for the community will be more meaningful.”

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“The primary purpose of the practice note is to develop consistency in the collection of data
carried out by visual inspection (either by direct field inspection or by video or other technology).
Subsequent decision making can then be shown to be supported by repeatable, objective
pavement assessments.”
From personal experience in undertaking visual condition assessments from video data for various local
government clients throughout the eastern seaboard, each council had different requirements in the
identification and classification of visible surface defects to suit their own requirements for both
maintenance planning and longer term management of the road assets.

Some councils had road condition manuals, for example Southern Downs regional Council in South
West Queensland, where the defect types, extent and severity were very well defined and the data
formats for entry into the GIS for further use in their pavement management system were also provided.

This can be contrasted with some local government clients who did not have any set system of
condition reporting and wanted a full turn-key solution provided to them, including the definition of the
road defect types, severity and extent to be provided to them.

3.2 Survey Methodologies


No matter what survey type is used, manual, windscreen or image, the objective is the same, to identify
the location, type, severity and extent of defects in the trafficable width of the road segment.

As stated above, most road condition methodologies are based on RoCond 90 for the identification of
various defect types and also the reporting of extent and severity.

The LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition Evaluation Manual Appendix C – Asset management Kit also
provides a basic data collection methodology for road condition defects for both sealed and unsealed
pavement types as a minimum data set. From the manual:

“The manual covers selected road condition distresses for both sealed and unsealed roads
referred to as the minimum common data set. It does not cover concrete or block paved roads.
It is acknowledged that this is a very minimal data set, but the constraining factor was that all
councils and Main Roads should be in a position to collect the data.”

“The minimum common data set will not provide sufficient information for a Council or Main
Roads to manage the day-to-day operations or the development of longer term works programs
as part of an asset management system. Rather the data set provides a simplified way of rating
roads for the primary purpose of providing a relative ranking score for each road segment.”

In order to carry out a road condition assessment the role of the road assessor is to provide an objective
assessment of the road network and associated assets as it is at the time of the assessment. That is,
the assessor is to report the condition as they see it, and not make a judgement on what may or may
not happen to the pavement in the future.

The accuracy and objectivity of a visual assessment of road condition is largely based on the knowledge
and experience of the assessors. To minimise subjectivity in the condition rating it is essential that
assessors are trained and can record and report consistent condition ratings prior to commencement of
any surveys.

The Asset management kit (LGAQ/TMR) also describes that the training of assessors to undertake road
condition surveys should also include:

 an overview of the objectives of the visual assessment methods together with a brief description
of the determination of road segments and completion of the assessment forms;
 an overview of the causes of the various types of distress. It is essential that the raters
understand the causes of the problems in order to achieve a realistic rating;

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 an overview of the method of assessment, including descriptions of various types of distress
and ratings for each type. The use of colour photographs to show examples of various condition
distresses is preferable, and;
 a practical training session should be held on how to fill in the assessment forms based on
assessing at least five road segments, preferably in different conditions. Each assessor would
independently evaluate each of the selected segments without discussion with other assessors.
The assessment forms are compared afterwards and any major discrepancies discussed. If
necessary, more segments can be assessed and discussed individually until an acceptable
consistency of rating is achieved.
Quality control of the survey is required to be undertaken on a regular and structured basis. This should
be in the form of independent audits of the road segments surveyed. It is generally accepted industry
practice that up to ten percent of the road network assessed is audited by an independent assessment
within one week of the original survey. This will ensure that the assessors are consistent in their
condition ratings, and if there are any inconsistencies found with experienced assessors these can be
addressed quickly. It must be noted that training of assessors is extremely important in capturing
accurate and consistent condition data.

Experienced assessors should be used wherever possible. Whilst it may be tempting to outsource this
service, it can be a false economy due to the rework required to fix the errors in the original
assessments.

In addition to the requirements discussed above for assessors, the road network to be assessed also
needs to needs to be segmented into rating segments prior to the start of a road condition assessment.
The road segments are typically selected to be uniform in nature and also take into account asset
management requirements to avoid the requirement for multiple segment systems. The length of the
segments should also be considered with typical segment lengths being in the order of 100m to 2km in
urban areas and around 500m to 2km in rural areas. It may be desirable to have longer road segment
length in remote and isolated areas, but these should be limited to a maximum of 5km. It has been
found that road segment lengths longer than this can result in unreliable condition ratings.

Each road has a defined prescribed direction and the segment numbering will generally run in that
direction, that is the segment numbers will increase with the road chainage.

As part of the field inspection and rating processes, the assessors will be required to confirm the
segment locations as well as the general conditions of the segment. Generally, the same segments
should be used for each subsequent survey to enable a history of road performance to be established
over a number of years. Careful selection of segments should ensure that they will only have to be
changed when the segment is altered by rehabilitation or reconstruction, or replaced by the realignment
of the road.

RoCond 90 forms the basis for most road condition assessment survey methodologies in regard to the
defects to be identified and the severity and extents to be recorded for those defects.

3.2.1 Asset Management Kit – Appendix C: Roads Condition Evaluation Manual for Queensland
(LGAQ, TMR)
The LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition Evaluation Manual Appendix C – Asset management Kit describes a
minimum data set to be collected for a road condition survey. The data to be collected for the minimum
data set is the local surface defects within the trafficable area of a sealed road segment.

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Figure 8: Pavement Cross Section Elements (IPWEA , 2016, Practice Notes 9.1, Figure 5, page 16)
Local surface defects that are identified using the LGAQ/TMR Asset Management Kit include temporary
or failed patches, shoving, localised rutting, cracking and any other localised condition that contributes
to surface or pavement failure. Ravelling and laminations are also considered local surface defect
failures in asphalt surfaces.

The local surface defects are assessed for the trafficable area, as described in Figure 8 above, for each
road segment. The area of each defect is estimated and recorded by estimating or measuring the length
and width. The total area of all defects identified for each segment is totalled and compared to the
trafficable area of the segment to calculate a condition score based on the percentage of Trafficable
Area affected by the defects identified.

Figure 9: Calculation of Road Condition Score (LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition Evaluation Manual
Appendix C – Asset management Kit, page C-18)
The condition of the unsealed pavement can also be affected by intensive rainfall and heavy traffic. As
the condition of unsealed pavements are very dynamic in nature any assessment of condition is a “snap
shot” in time. The defects that influence the ride quality, or driveability of an unsealed road are:

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 Corrugations;
 Loose/surface texture;
 Potholes;
 Ruts, and;
 Erosion.
The condition of unsealed roads are assessed by looking at the driveability of the unsealed pavement
section and the profile of the unsealed pavement section. Where possible laser or mechanical means,
such as ARRB’s roughometer, are used to remove subjectivity of the driveability rating as this can be
greatly influenced by the type, or even model, of vehicle used for assessment.

The driveability of the pavement is primarily affected by construction standards, maintenance, and
quality of grading and material properties. The driveability, or ride quality, of an unsealed pavement is
generally measured by subjective means, though as described above, equipment based roughness
surveys may also be completed. If not calculated by mechanical means, the driveability of an unsealed
road is assessed by estimating the comfortable and safe driving speed, unaffected by geometry
constraints or width that could be driven in a sedan or four wheel drive vehicle. The selection of the
rating speed should be based on the speed that a reasonable person would safely travel the road being
assessed.

Figure 10: Manual Assessment of Ride Quality (LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition Evaluation Manual
Appendix C – Asset management Kit, Table 6, page C-20)
The profile of the road is the other factor assessed for unsealed roads. The profile of the road has a
major impact on the performance of the road. Roads with good profile shape will shed water quickly.
Where the profile is flat water will have a tendency to pond, resulting in softening of the wearing course
and the subsequent development of potholes and other localised deterioration such as rutting.

The method described to rate the profile of an unsealed road segment is to measure the length of
inadequate cross fall as a percentage of the whole length of the segment. This is shown in Figure 11
and Figure 12 below.

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Figure 11: Visual Assessment of Profile (LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition Evaluation Manual
Appendix C – Asset management Kit, Table 8 and Figure 6, page C-22)

Figure 12: Example of Calculation of Profile rating (LGAQ/TMR Roads Condition Evaluation
Manual Appendix C – Asset management Kit, page C-22)

3.2.2 Practice Note 9.1 How to: Assess Road Pavement Condition (IPWEA 2016)
The IPWEA published Practice Note 9.1 provides a more detailed methodology for rating pavement and
surface condition than the methodology described in the Asset Management Kit published by the LGAQ
and TMR in Queensland. The road condition is assessed for the defects described below, where
depending on the resources of the organisation a “core” or “advanced” approach can be taken.

The practice notes also describe two methods of assessment:

 Method 1 – Direct assessment of Segment Defect Scores


where the defect score is for a segment is based on the assessment of each component defect
within the segment. On completion of the assessment a score is given for each component

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defect. For a bitumen sealed surface that would be a separate defect rating for surface texture,
binder age, surface cracking and patching.
 Method 2 – Indirect assessment of Segment defect Scores
where the component defect score is assessed at set regular intervals and the overall defect
score based on the average of the scores rated. For example, if cracking at three intervals are
rated at 2, 4 and 3, the cracking defect score for the segment will be 3.
Method 1 is better suited to experienced road condition assessors, however is faster and more efficient.
Method 2 provides a more structured process and lessens the requirement for subjective averaging of
defect scores across a segment.

The road components assessed in the methodology described in the Practice Notes, and defects to be
identified for each are:

 Bitumen sealed surface;


• Surface texture
• Binder age;
• Cracking, and;
• Patching.
 Asphalt sealed surface;
• Surface texture;
• Asphalt age;
• Cracking, and;
• Patching.
 Sealed road pavement;
• Roughness;
• Rutting, and;
• Pavement cracking.
 Rigid pavement;
• Deformation (joint displacement);
• Pavement cracking, and;
• Joint sealant.
 Unsealed road pavement (gravel), and;
• Resheet age;
• Pavement depth, and;
• Gravel durability
 Unsealed road pavement (formation).
• Road height profile, and;
• Driveability after wet weather.
In undertaking the visual road condition assessment using methodologies based on RoCond 90, and as
briefly described above, there are three broad classification of survey types:

 Manual or foot survey, where the survey is undertaken on foot to measure and identify road
surface defects;

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 Vehicle survey, sometimes called “windscreen survey”, where the defects are identified and
extents estimated from a slow moving vehicle, and;
 Image survey, where the road network is post rated from image data collected by a specialised
survey vehicle that records the road network using one or more image cameras.

3.2.3 Manual Assessment (Foot Survey)


Manual assessment of the road network is undertaken on foot by a party of at least people. This method
is the least suited for a network survey as it is the slowest method of assessing the road surface
condition.

One advantage of undertaking a foot survey is that because of the time it takes and the speed of the
survey, the data collected can be very accurate for a road segment. Each defect identified can be
located and measured accurately using portable equipment such as measuring wheel and tape.

Where data was previously captured on paper forms and required transfer to computer for use in the
AIMS, tablets and PDA’s can be used for direct data entry into a data base for later transfer or import
into the AIMS. GPS enabled devices can facilitate live updates of the master data set within the AIMS.

These surveys are best suited to maintenance inspections, programmed or in response to customer
complaints.

Some disadvantages of these surveys include:

 Safety - the surveyors need to be on the roadway to measure defects and are exposed to the
elements.
 Cost – expensive as a minimum of two people are required and productivity is low compared to
other survey methods. Also traffic control may be required, especially for roads at higher
hierarchical levels, e.g. arterial roads and highways.
 Speed – typically only 10 to 15km per day can be rated in the field in good conditions.

3.2.4 In vehicle “Windscreen” Survey


In vehicle assessments are completed by slowly driving along the road recording defect type, location,
severity and estimating the extent of the defect.

Again, like the manual assessment, traditionally the identified defects were recorded on paper forms
and then transferred to the AIMS. GPS enabled tablets and laptop computers have made electronic
data entry into the AIMS possible.

The surveys are safer than foot surveys as the assessors are not exposed to traffic or the elements.
However depending on the road to be assessed, traffic control may still be required due to the speed
differential from the survey vehicle and the surrounding traffic.

A crew of two is also required, one driver and one assessor. Depending on the roads to be assessed, a
crew can rate between 20km and 60km of road in a day. This method is more suitable for network
surveys than the foot survey, but is still expensive and time consuming.

It is also possible to miss defects such as fine cracks, minor ravelling and flushing. Another
disadvantage is that the extent of defects is estimate only form the vehicle, as is severity of some
defects, such as cracking.

3.2.5 Image Survey


Image surveys are carried out by a vehicle equipped with, usually, multiple cameras record the road and
environs for post rating at the completion of the field data capture. The camera locations are generally
adjustable and can be used to target specific locations such as pavement surface, kerb and channel
and the general environs of the roadway. The vehicles are generally crewed by one or two people

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depending on the specification and purpose of the vehicle. Some survey vehicles record image data
only, whilst others will record image data and other data such as roughness and rutting at the same
time.

The biggest advantage of an image survey is the speed of the data capture form the field. Depending on
the survey type and the roads driven, typically between 100km in urban areas and up to 400km of road
in rural areas can be recorded for a video image survey only such as Cardno’s DRIVE system.

Other advantages include safety and no requirement for traffic control as the vehicle travels at the same
speed as the surrounding traffic. Post rating of the data is carried out back in an office so data collection
from the image data collected in the field can be undertaken at any time by any number of assessors.
The image data forms a permanent record of the condition of the road network allowing audit and
training of condition assessors to be undertaken at any time on the same road section ensuring
consistent results between different raters.

The image data can also allow for the comparison of images from different surveys to monitor change in
road condition. This has been used for pre and post construction dilapidation surveys in a variety of
projects, including the Gold Coast Light Rail, LNG gas pipeline construction projects throughout central
Queensland and various other road and infrastructure projects.

The image data can also be used for many other purposes, especially within local government, where
many different areas can utilise the image data recorded, therefore sharing the costs of data collection.

4 Comparison of Image Data Capture Technologies


In 2009 image data capture surveys were undertaken for local government and others using what would
now be regarded as low resolution video cameras (Ryeland 2009). Generally only three cameras facing
forward, and maybe one or two cameras were used to capture video data. Some systems used line
scan cameras mounted to face the pavement surface to give a capture width of around 3.5 to 4 metres,
or one lane width.

Companies like Australian Surface Testing (AST), ARRB and Pavement Management Services (PMS)
generally collected video data in conjunction with roughness, rutting, texture and sometimes road
geometry data.

Figure 13: Road Condition Survey Vehicle, Laser Profilometer and Cameras, circa 2009 (Australian
Surface Testing Pty Ltd)

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The collected image data may or may not have been used for post rating the road surface condition,
depending on the capabilities of the video viewing system.

ARRB’s Hawkeye system would probably have been the best known road condition data capture
system with the ability to collect road surface data by laser profilometer, road geometry data such as
profile, horizontal and vertical alignment, with its Gypsy track system and finally a multi camera video
system.

Figure 14: Integrated Survey Vehicle and Services (ARRB Service Brochure)
PMS and AST also had an integrated laser and video survey vehicle systems that collected video data
in conjunction with the road profile data using laser profilometers for roughness, rutting and surface
texture.

All these systems used GPS data and distance measuring equipment on the vehicle to take an image
from a camera at a set distance, typically every 5 to 10 metres the vehicle travelled.

Cardno’s DRIVE system was the only video only data capture system that was marketed as a
standalone system and the main purpose being the capture of asset inventory data in the road
environment. Cardno’s system differed from others in the market in that it used handicams to capture
the data, writing the video data to a series of computer hard disk drives, along with GPS data, where the
video data was georeferenced by post processing. This also allowed the DRIVE system to have varying
distances between image frames to ensure all the road environs were captured.

For a typical rural or regional Local Government network survey it is preferred to complete the video
survey independently. This allows for a more efficient collection of image data. Though for urban Local
Governments the advent of free image data such as Google street view, or licenced aerial image data
such as Nearmaps, may replace the need for image capture surveys for assets as resolutions of the
images impproves.

Traditionally video surveys have been combined with equipment surveys for pavement surface condition
evaluation, usually multi laser profile bar.

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When combined with a laser survey, the best way to drive the road network to collect laser data is the
worst and least efficient method for video data collection, and the most efficient way to collect video
data is the least efficient methodology to complete a laser data capture survey:

 For a road profile laser survey the road network is driven one road at a time for as long as
possible, generally from the prescribed start point to end point of the road at a steady speed and
in one direction only for undivided roads. For divided roads the road is generally driven in both
directions, but only in the one lane only for each direction.

Figure 15: Laser Profile survey routing (Ryeland, 2009)


 For full video coverage, I found the best method to collect the video data in an urban environment
is to break the road network down into small blocks based on the lower order roads between
arterial and feeder roads. All the roads within each block are recorded in one pass in both
directions, turning left at each intersection and making U-turns when necessary to ensure each
road within the section is only driven once in both directions.

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Figure 16: Video survey routing (Ryeland, 2009)

4.1 Previous Image Data Capture Technologies


As described above, the camera technology used for image capture around 2009 was comparably low
resolution cameras with full HD 1080x1920 pixels being the best in the industry at the time for most
video cameras, and some systems utilised line scan cameras for pavement images. Line scan cameras
generally had a resolution of 2048 pixel wide and continuously recorded each line of pixels to create an
image.

Most camera recording systems were used in conjunction with other road condition survey technologies
such as laser profile bars, used for collection of surface data such as roughness, rutting and surface
texture.

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Figure 17: Hawkeye 2000 series Asset View Overview (ARRB Service Brochure, 2006)

Figure 18: Hawkeye 2000 series Asset View Cameras (ARRB Service Brochure, 2006)

Research into automated defect capture was being undertaken by a few companies in Australia, most
notably the CSIRO and NSW RTA developed had an automatic crack recognition system, RoadCrack,
mounted to a truck. This was patented in the United States in 2003. The system was able to record
images and detect cracks down to 1mm in width at speeds up to 105km/h. This system was developed
for, and best suited State road management authorities rather than local government. Anecdotal
evidence suggested that the performance of the lighting required to illuminate the road surface
sufficiently for the image capture solved the problem of road cracking by melting the bitumous road
surface if the vehicle was stationary for any amount of time. LED lighting technology was not yet
available at this time, with halogen lights used. Halogen lights produce a lot of heat.

The main problems encountered with the camera technologies available at the time were:

 Shadowing of the road surface from the surrounds and the vehicle, depending on the time of day
the survey was undertaken and the direction of travel;

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 Over and under exposure of images recorded due to the limitations of the cameras when passing
from low to high light levels and from high to low light levels.

4.1.1 Condition Data Processing From Images


In 2009, condition assessment of the road surface was done manually from the video data. With all
systems used at the time, the process was similar, in that the assessor viewed the video image data of
the road surface one frame at a time and identified any visible defects in the image. Along with the
defect, the severity and extent was also recorded as required.

All the defect capture software systems produced outputs in formats that could be used in various AIMS
or GIS and some could be configured to produce outputs for direct upload into some AIMS.

Typically the systems were stand alone, where the video data was referenced to the location or road
number from the road register or referencing system. Location was determined from the GPS data
and/or distance data recorded in the field with the video data.

The Pavement and Road Maintenance and Management System (PARMMS), developed by Pavement
Management Services is one such software solution. First developed in 1978, Pavement Management
Services has continually developed PARMMS as the data collection technologies have improved and
advanced. As with most, the PARMMS system is a standalone software solution designed to work with
the image data captured by Pavement management Services survey vehicles, and marketed and sold
as a complete solution to users.

Similarly ARRBS Hawkeye video data capture system was viewed through ARRBS own software
solution that also was used to manually locate and identify defect types, extents and severity. The
defect data was exported for use in AIMS used by the client.

Figure 19: Hawkeye Software, video (ARRB)

Cardno’s DRIVE software solution was different to other condition rating and image viewing software.
The DRIVE system was an add on for the clients GIS, and could be used in MapInfo and ArcInfo
software.

The video was viewed by selecting the location to be viewed from the map. A maximum of nine video
windows could be opened at once, also allowing the viewing of video from different surveys at the same
location. This allowed comparison of video data to see change from survey to the next, e.g. comparison
of a road prior to construction works and then after completion of the works.

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Cardno’s DRIVE system was also the only software solution that allowed for the direct input of data from
the video into a GIS table. That is data could be traced from the video directly into a GIS table. This
allowed DRIVE to be marketed as an asset inventory creation tool as well as for post survey analysis of
road condition from video data.

Figure 20: Cardno Video Viewer, MapInfo (Cardno)

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Figure 21: Cardno DRIVE, creating asset table in GIS (Cardno)

These systems allowed the end user to undertake the post survey analysis themselves, or to specify a
turn-key solution, where the defect analysis was undertaken by the consultant.

4.2 Current Image Data Capture Technologies


Data capture used for road condition surveys still utilise similar technologies, that is video cameras and
GPS to georeference the images. The cameras used today are generally of higher resolution, up to 5
mega pixels, and also powered over Ethernet, simplifying the installation of the cameras, GPS
receiver(s) and computers.

Again, as in 2009, most survey vehicles used are multipurpose, collecting laser data for road profile
data as well as image capture.

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Figure 22: Road Condition Survey Vehicle, Laser Profilometer and Cameras, circa 2015 (Australian
Surface Testing Pty Ltd)
The biggest change in the technologies used in image capture is the use of laser in conjunction with
lines can video data to produce image data of the road surface.

In Australia there are two main systems used for laser image capture of road surface defects, the
Pavemetrics Laser Crack Measurement System (LCMS) from Canada, used by ARRB and Pavement
Management Services, as well as Romdas in New Zealand. This system uses lasers produce images of
the road surface for later analysis and automated defect recognition and reporting.

The system is capable of creating a 4 metre wide image at speeds up to 100km/h. The resolution of the
images collected is 1mm in a single pass. Depending on the system used, the vertical accuracy of the
laser measurement is 0.5mm or 0.1mm, with either 2.5mm or 1mm longitudinal scanning and 1mm
transverse resolution.

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Figure 23: Pavemetrics LRIS (www.pavemetrics.com)

Figure 24: Pavemetrics LRIS fitted to Survey Vehicle (www.pavemement.com.au)

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The second system is the PaveScout by Radar Portal Surveys, a Queensland based company. This
system uses line scan cameras to produce photometric stereo imagery of the road surface that is used
in conjunction with laser data for later analysis and identification of road surface defects.

Figure 25: PaveScout stereo image system (www.radarportal.com.au)

Figure 26: PaveScout stereo image system fitted to survey vehicle


(https://www.linkedin.com/company/radar-portal-systems)
From the Radar Portal Surveys website (http://www.radarportal.com.au/photometric-stereo-surface-
imaging):

“The system incorporates a line-scan camera with four bars of high power artificial lights. These
lights are 20 times brighter than sunlight for their spectrum of operation, thus allowing 4.0 metre
scanning without needing a sunlight shield. These lights are flashed in sequence for every
millimetre of travel (60,000 times per second at 100km/h). The result is a set of four images of
the road with illumination from the front, right, back and left allowing the surface structure can
be separated from surface colour. Using these four images the system has the ability to detect
the gradient contour for each square millimetre of the ground: producing forward angle, cross
angle and luminance images.

The purpose of this detailed imaging of the surface, is to separate the "colour" or light and dark
shades of the road surface, from the structure of the road surface. Cracking or other surface
defects are primarily structure elements, while marks on the road surface oil drips, water from

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air conditions and the varying colours of the rocks that comprise the roads surface have no
consequence on bearing capacity or road pavement quality. The analysis can be considered to
be similar to painting the road surface an even grey, and then taking an image of the surface. If
this is done, the cracks show up very clearly. This separation of luminance and structure also
allows further measures of the road surface. For example the pumping of fines (indicating base
distress) can still be seen in the luminance image, and linked to the crack detection and crack
width measures in the structure domains. The result is that for each crack detected, not only is
the width determined but also a number of other metrics including percentage pumping. The
result is a wealth of information useful for both network assessment as well as detailed project
based defect assessments.

The other advantage of the Photometric imaging is the vast reduction of false positives when
performing crack detection. Again this is due to the detection of cracking in the structure
domains. It is even possible for the system to detect cracking when covered in dirt or debris, as
well as the precursors to cracking such as the formation of waves and smaller plates in the
roads surface, which is especially true for thinner asphalt and chip seal surfaces.”

The Radar Portal Survey system uses post processing of the image data to manually identify and locate
surface defects.

4.2.1 Condition Data Processing From Images


There have been two major developments in the software used to view and analyse video data since
2009, being:

 Web based viewing of data, and;


 Automatic defect recognition
Software can be classified into two broad categories, viewing and analysis.

The viewing software is generally what is made available to the end user and is used to view the
recorded data from the field and the results of the defect analysis.

The analysis software is generally used by the supplier for the creation of the results of the image data
defect collection. The software is generally self-developed in conjunction with the field data capture
survey systems. Some software is able to automatically map road surface defects such as cracking,
ravelling, and other texture defects.

For local government, the most important development would be the use of web based applications for
the storage and presentation of data. No longer are specialised software, mapping or GIS packages
required for the viewing of the collected data. Suppliers such as ARRB and Radar Portal Surveys use
the fact that their software is web based as a marketing feature. One major advantage is that the data
for the end user is stored off site by the supplier, either at their location or in “cloud” storage on off-site
servers accessible through secure data links.

Another advantage, in terms of mapping, is the use of web based map tools such as Google Maps, that
are freely available, and regularly updated by the mapping data owners.

Because of the volume of data recorded and the complexity of the defect identification algorithms used
by the suppliers, a lot of the software systems are not provided to the end user. The end user will
receive a viewing package to enable the viewing of both the image data and defect data.

Due to the complexity of the data processing and volumes of data required, typically the end user is
supplied with access to the following data;

 Images;
 Processed data for;
• Roughness;

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• Rutting;
• Surface texture;
 Defect data, including;
• Cracking;
• Potholes, and;
• Shoving;
As above, one advantage to local government for this type of solution is that all the data is securely
stored off site, thus saving IT costs within the organisation. The supplier is also responsible for providing
the end user with all data in a format that meets the needs of the end user for integration into existing
AIMS’s.

One disadvantage of this type of implementation is that the end user is reliant on the supplier for the
initial data capture and subsequent management of the data into the future. They need to undertake a
risk assessment of what would happen if the supplier ceased trading, or decided not to support that
particular product, or increased pricing for the ongoing storage of data, or if the software and collected
data was not compatible with future versions.

Another disadvantage of these full turn-key solutions is the extra costs if changes are required to the
data structure or if additional data is collected, or if data has been collected that is not required.

Viewing Software
Two recently released software solutions for viewing the image data and defect data are ARRB’s
Hawkeye Insight and Radar Portal Survey’s Portal 4D.

These web based viewing systems host the video and defect data off site with the end user able to
access their data through secure links. These systems allow the end user to view and report on the
image data and any defect data that has been captured from the video. These software solutions are
not designed to replace traditional AIMS and deterioration models such as dTIMS, HDM-4 or SMEC, but
to provide the end user with the ability to show the data in easy to understand formats such as thematic
mapping showing the defect extents and severities for a road or road section.

From the Radar Portal Website (Radar Portal Surveys, http://www.radarportal.com.au/portal4d, nd):

“The Portal 4D road environment display and analysis package allows you to observe the road
condition data including the surface condition, subsurface and surrounds.

View collected data, graph road conditions and generate reports in both chainage/sectional
forms and in a full GIS mode.

Designed to compilement existing asset management systems such as HDM, RAMS, or SMEC.
Database support allows viewing of rutting, roughness, texture measures or cracking statistics
over a network.” (Radar Portal Surveys, http://www.radarportal.com.au/portal4d)

“The Portal 4D Analysis and Reporting Package is a low-level road environment display and
analysis package that allows the user to specify a project or a road and then observe the road
condition data, including the surface condition, subsurface and surrounds.

It has high level functionality with the ability to view collected data, view automatically extracted
features, tag extra features, graph road conditions and generate reports. Data can be viewed in
both chainage/sectional forms and in a full GIS mode (joint display modes).

Database support allows higher level data querying. This includes viewing rutting, roughness,
texture measures or cracking statistics over a network. The package is not designed to replace
asset management systems such as HDM, RAMS, or SMEC, but instead complement them,

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providing a more detailed view into the areas outlined within these asset management
systems.”

Figure 27: Portal 4D software (http://www.radarportal.com.au/portal4d)


ARRB’s Hawkeye : Insight web based solution allows for the end user to view and assess collected
condition data in a variety of platforms using Google Maps as the base. The platforms for accessing the
data include web browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome, plus Android and Apple iOS
platforms for viewing on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets for mobile use.

From the ARRB website(ARRB, https://www.hawkeyeinsight.com/, nd) :

“Hawkeye : Insight displays multiple concurrent video channels that allows the user to
effectively 'drive your roads.’

Each calibrated camera can be used to zoom, measure and inspect asset condition, including
Automatic Crack Detection data.

Enter road numbers, distance information, or simply drag and drop to your point of interest.”

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Figure 28: Hawkeye : Insight overview (https://www.hawkeyeinsight.com/)

Figure 29: Hawkeye : Insight view of Automatic Crack Detection Imagery


(https://www.hawkeyeinsight.com/)

Analysis Software
By far the most advances have been made in the data analysis software for undertaking road condition
assessments.

Development has progressed from full manual defect identification to the automatic detection of cracks
in the road surface as well as detection of surface wearing defects such as ravelling. The software has
also been developed to expand the surfaces that the automatic crack detection can work on. Typically
these systems worked on asphalt and concrete pavements only, because of the “smoother” nature of
these surface types. In some regions, such as South East Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines in

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particular, only asphalt and concrete are used for sealed pavements. In Australia the more usual chip
seal, or spray seal, bitumous surfaces presented problems due the nature of the surface, being and
aggregate mix held together by binder. This rough surface type made it very difficult for the automatic
crack detection to work effectively.

The main system used, or available in Australia that has the capability of automatic defect detection is
the Pavemetrics LCMS as sued by Pavement Management Services and ARRB.

Pavement Management Services claim that the system will automatically detect:

 Cracking:
• Transverse;
• Longitudinal, and
• Crocodile
 Ravelling;
 Potholing, and;
 Patch deterioration.
The system will also detect lane marking, drop off and measurement of transverse profile and pavement
rut depth.

From the Pavemetrics website (Pavemetrics, http://www.pavemetrics.com/wp-


content/uploads/2016/03/LCMS_Flyer.pdf, nd):

“The laser crack measurement system (LCMS) uses laser line projectors, high speed cameras
and advanced optics to acquire high resolution 3D profiles of the road. This unique 3D vision
technology allows for automatic pavement condition assessment of asphalt, porous asphalt,
chipseal and concrete surfaces. The LCMS acquires both 3D and 2D image data of the road
surface with 1 mm resolution over a 4 m lane width at survey speeds up to 100 km/h.

LCMS data is acquired and compressed in real time in the survey vehicle so as to minimize
storage needs (<1Gb per km). The collected data can then be analysed using Pavemetric’s
data processing toolbox (DLL library of C/C++ functions). This library has functions to detect
and analyze cracks, lane markings, potholes, ravelling,and macro-texture. Rutting is also
measured and characterized using more than 4 000 points and rut depth and type (short,
multiple, long radius) is evaluated. Concrete road surfaces can be scanned to evaluate joints,
tinning and faulting between the concrete slabs. IMUs can be added to the sensors in order to
measure longitudinal profiles, IRI, slope and crossfall.”

Radar Portal Survey uses two software packages to process road condition data. The first, RPS
processor is used to convert the raw collected data into formats that can be used by the viewing
software. From the Radar Portal Surveys website : (Radar Portal Surveys,
http://www.radarportal.com.au/rps-processor, nd)

“The RPS processor software is a distributed software engine that converts data from the raw
forms generated by the collection software to the forms required for the viewing software. It also
aligns the data to the customer's network, and calculates the road degradation measures, such
as rutting, roughness, texture depth and cracking.

Based on a distributed system, allocated computers in the network run a small background
process using their latent power to calculate measures thereby limiting the amount of
computers required.

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Any computer on the network can be used to view the current jobs running, add, stop or
reschedule jobs. Additionally jobs can also be scheduled to only operate at night so that
background processing does not interfere with the operation of the computer during the day.

The processor is tied to a database that allows recording of the jobs, high level job information,
project data, tags, GPS locations and other high level information. Low level information is
stored as flat files, but then referenced via the database to allow rapid access.

The other job of the processor is to manage data storage. Backup data can be placed on hard
drives, with the database having links to this backup source. If an old scan is required, the
system will tell the operator what hard drives or other backup source numbers are required, and
will then automatically retrieve this information. This provides an easy record of the current data
state for each project.”

The 4D system is the manual data capture and viewing system. It uses automated reporting for some
data, such as roughness, rutting and texture measurement of the road surface and manual detection of
other surface defects such as cracking, shoving, patching and potholes.

Portal 4D utilises a combination of the video images and photometric processed images to identify and
locate the defects in the road surface.

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Figure 30: Portal 4D, comparison of natural lighting to photometric artificial lighting from
PaveScout survey vehicle.
From Figure 30 above, you can see the advantage of using the photometric data. As the cracks are
shown as differences in height in the second image they are much easier to identify in the image. This
also eliminates a lot of false positives when identifying cracking in the road surface.

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Figure 31: Portal 4D, elimination of false positives (Radar Portal 2014, .How to Use Portal 4D for
Surface Marking)
The following defects are manually assessed from the image data using the Portal 4D software:

 Linear cracks (transverse, longitudinal, diagonal);


 Crocodile cracks;
 Block cracks;
 Potholes;
 Patches;
 Delamination, and;
 Ravelling.

5 Summary of Image Data Technologies


Since the original question was posed in 2009 asking if video surveys could deliver, there has been
huge advances in the technologies available at the time and in new technologies that have only recently
been utilised in this field.

Another huge factor is the overall reduction in costs that allow further development to progress in the
automatic detection of road surface defects. Whilst most of these are driven by the owners and
managers of Highways at state or national level around the world, these developments in image data
capture and processing are becoming cheap enough that Local Government can obtain value for their
limited resources and budgets and are starting to utilise these new technologies for their ongoing road
asset management programs.

In summary it can be stated that:

 Camera resolutions. continue to improve for road condition data collection;


 Video images are being augmented by image data recorded outside the visible light spectrum,
e.g. laser, infra-red and LiDAR;
 Continued reductions in storage costs makes these new systems viable, approximately 1.6Gb of
data per kilometre of road surveyed.

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 Advances in computer processors is making more complex automated data collection possible,
crack detection plus other surface defects such as ravelling and in different surfaces such as chip
seal bitumen.
 These systems are still best suited for sealed roads. Unsealed roads still need to be surveyed
using more traditional video techniques or windscreen type surveys.
 Visible light video capture will always have a place in these surveys to provide a general overview
of the road and the environs.
 The new software solutions are becoming more complex, limiting the availability of these for the
end user to undertake the defect analysis themselves. This means that clients, typically local
government, become more reliant on external suppliers, even if they have the resources to
undertake the post survey analysis themselves.
Camera resolutions have improved markedly from 640x640 pixel cameras (0.4MP) in the late 1990’s to
early 2000’s up to typical resolutions of 2MP up to 5MP for cameras used in video data capture. The
current cameras are also typically power over Ethernet (POE) allowing for one cable plug and play into
an Ethernet switch for collection of data from multiple cameras. In the case of Cardno’s DRIVE system
up to six cameras can be used to collect data at one time.

Video images using the visible light spectrum are now being augmented, or in some cases replaced, by
infrared and laser image collection using light outside the visible spectrum. This can have many
advantages depending on the type of survey, including the minimisation of the effect of shadows and
the ability to capture image data at night where traffic conditions would generally be lighter. This is
mainly advantageous for pavement image capture where the surrounding environment is not required,
so is best suited to highway management and owner organisations.

Advances in LiDAR technologies mean that video images may not be required in the near future. The
point clouds generated by the LiDAR survey at the present time can be accurate to a few mm, this is
more than enough for a road manager looking to locate a sign or the edge of a road surface.

One downside to these new technologies is the data storage required. For the latest video only survey
undertaken by LVRC, 3Tb of data was recorded for 5 cameras for the near 1,400km of roads. However
the cost of storage has decreased dramatically in the last few years with 2Tb external hard drives now
costing around $100 or so. Also the advent of cloud storage has given organisations another option for
the storage of large volumes of data.

As the cost of data storage has decreased, the viability of these new data capture technologies has
increased. Also the viability of secure cloud hosting of the data by the supplier for the client has also
helped in making these more complex data capture and analysis solutions viable. In the case of the
Radar Portal PaveScout stereo image capture system approximately 1.6Gb of data is captured for each
kilometre of road surveyed.

As computer processors have become more powerful and faster and more memory available for
processing, more complex automated defect collection is possible for more defects. From the initial
crack detection of the RTA’s RoadCrack in the early 2000’s it is now possible to detect cracking down to
1mm in width as well as potholing, patching, edge drop and surface defects such as ravelling.

There are some disadvantages of the new technology, one being that the software solutions are
becoming so complex that the client, typically Local Government is reliant ion the supplier for providing
a full solution, and possibly locking themselves into the ne supplier to provide continuity of data.

These new solutions are generally best suited for sealed roads. This may cause issues for regional and
rural Local Governments where unsealed roads can make up more than 50% of their total road network.
This may mean that two separate surveys are undertaken, or that more traditional, or more
compromised methods may have to be used to undertake network condition assessment.

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6 Conclusion
Will the new technologies developed for survey data capture and analysis be suitable for local
government?

Again the answer, like in 2009, is; it depends?

For SDRC the last road condition survey undertaken in 2014, one tender utilizing Cardno’s DRIVE
system for the image capture, AST’s laser profilometer for the roughness and rutting and visual
assessment in the field for initial condition assessment and treatment options was beaten by Radar
Portal Surveys. Radar Portal Surveys won the tender for a price that was much cheaper, utilizing their
stereo photo images and laser field survey system along with their Portal 4D software for condition
assessment to perform the scope of works.

For SDRC, the use of this new technology and more objective, semi-automated analysis of the road
network for surface defects of the sealed pavement better suited their requirements and needs for the
management of their road assets for the budget and resources available as well as the ongoing data
management and forward planning for the road assets.

In contrast, LVRC, undertook a video only survey of their road network at the end of 2015, which was
completed by Cardno using the DRIVE survey system. A five camera survey was undertaken of the
sealed and unsealed road network to provide LVRC with an updated set of image data that can be
compared to the earlier video surveys undertaken in 2011 and 2013 after the flood events.

For LVRC budgetary constraints meant that they could either undertake either a video image survey or
an equipment based roughness and rutting by laser profilometer. For LVRC, they believed they would
receive a better return and value from the video survey rather than the road profile survey. The video
data is available for viewing throughout Council, from customer service on the front desk, through to
planning and engineering sections as well as asset management using existing resources within
Council. Corporate GIS mapping software and web based viewing of the video data using Google Maps
is used to access the image data. The image data is regularly used in conjunction with Council’s GIS to
calculate and record house numbers for rural addressing. Other uses include desktop analysis of road
design and modifications, safety audits and so on utilising the image data and viewing software supplied
with the video data.

Whilst the developments in image capture technologies and data collection, such as automated defect
capture, can provide more data than ever before of a high quality, there must be value for the end user
to offset the increase cost in data collection and analysis.

For large urban and regional councils, the extra cost of this new technology may be affordable and
justifiable to the Councillors and ratepayers, due to the benefits to the organisation in better managing
the road assets for the whole of the lifecycle, allowing them to make better informed decisions for the
future planning of rehabilitation and replacement of the road assets.

For smaller urban councils, or regional and rural councils the extra costs of these new technologies may
not be justifiable to the community, and more simple data collection technologies are still better suited
for them, providing the information that is needed at an affordable cost to effectively manage their road
assets with the limited resources available to them.

The advances in the automated defect detection have prioritised cracking as the most important defect
to measure. Whilst cracking is an important performance indicator used in roads, it is not necessary the
only indicator required by local government. If the system cannot detect all the required defects, like
edge break and drop, delamination, shoving or unsealed roads then these technologies may not provide
local government with a solution. The deficiencies in the automated detection may require the end user
to undertake a survey to identify the defects that are not detected by the software automatically. The
additional analyses to identify all the required defect types will add to the overall cost of the survey. This
may then not represent value for money to the end user.

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Developments in automated defect identification, concentrating on crack detection seem to be more
aimed towards state level road management agencies rather than Local Government. State road
agencies generally only manage high level roads such as highways, motorways and some arterial roads
that provide connections between locations. This road configuration leads itself for the type of data
collection and associated defect detection that has been developed over the last few years, starting with
the RTA’s RoadCrack system and progressing to Pavemetric’s LCMS and LRIS.

Whereas Local Government roads are generally made up of lower hierarchical roads, such as access
and collector roads that form complex networks to service residential, commercial and industrial
developments. These networks are traditionally more difficult to survey efficiently for roughness and
surface data compared to image data alone.

As describes above Local Government needs ensure that they get value for money for services
provided. They need to make sure that the extra costs to produce the data provides them with good
value for their investment. Smaller local governments may not be able to justify the extra cost over more
traditional methods of road condition assessment. This is particularly true if they are not a “mature”
organisation in terms of asset management and don’t have the AIMS in place to make the most of the
data available from these assessments, or the resources to maintain the AIMS and the data required.

As with most technology, it would be expected that as these are further developed, the cost will
decrease making these road survey systems more attractive to local government.

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7 References
1. ARRB Data Collection Services n.d. viewed April 16 2016, https://www.arrb.com.au/equipment-
services/data-collection-services.aspx
2. ARRB Services n.d. viewed April 16, 2016, https://www.arrb.com.au/admin/file/content2/c7/SB-
Services.pdf
3. ARRB Hawkeye : Insight, n.d. viewed April 17, 2016, https://www.hawkeyeinsight.com/
4. Austroads (2009) Guide to Asset Management Part 5: Pavement Performance
5. Austroads (2009) Guide to Asset Management Part 5A: Inventory
6. Austroads (2009) Guide to Asset Management Part 5B: Roughness
7. Austroads (2009) Guide to Asset Management Part 5C: Rutting
8. Austroads (2009) Guide to Asset Management Part 5E: Cracking
9. Copcic, Reyes, Barlow, Wix, South Australia Department of Planning, transport and Infrastructure,
ARRB Group Australia (2014) Formulating the South Australian Automatic Crack Data Processing
Methodology, 26th ARRB Conference – Reasearch driving efficiency, Sydney New South Wales,
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10. E. Schnebele (2015) Review of remote sensing methodologies for pavement management and
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11. IPWEA (2015) Condition Assessment & Asset Performance Guidelines Practice Note 9 Road
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12. IPWEA (2016) Condition Assessment & Asset Performance Guidelines Practice Note 9.1 How to:
Assess Road Pavement Condition
13. IPWEA (2016) Condition Assessment & Asset Performance Guidelines Practice Note 9.2 How to:
Integrate Pavement Assessments into AM Planning
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24. Radar Portal Surveys, Qld Australia, Photometric Stereo Surface Imaging, n.d. viewed April 17,
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