Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 53-09. Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Inspection of Stormwater Best Management Practices

Inspection of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) is a requirement of most state departments of transportation (DOTs) construction and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. This inspection typically involves expensive and staff-intensive efforts for regular inspection to ensure the BMPs are installed, functioning as designed, and are not in imminent need of maintenance and/or retrofitting and replacement. In recent years, the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) has evolved rapidly as a tool with the potential to both reduce the costs and improve the data collected during stormwater BMP inspections for state DOTs. To date, UAS inspection of stormwater BMPs conducted by state DOTs has demonstrated the potential for promising results (or potential applications) with regard to speed, accuracy, and repeatability for several important BMP performance and maintenance factors. The objective of this synthesis is to document the current practice of state DOT use of UAS as a tool for stormwater BMP inspections. Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): (1) Curent field inspection protocols for stormwater BMPs and associated data post-processing methods; (2) Extent of the adoption of UAS for temporary and permanent stormwater BMP inspections; (3) Types of UAS and sensors used for stormwater BMP inspections; (4) Data collection process for UAS inspections (e.g. flight planning, extent of operations, in-house or contracted) and factors for selection of equipment (e.g. accuracy, staff time, and costs); (5) Technical limitations, problems encountered, and lessons learned in using UAS for inspections; (6) Software, integration, reporting, and data management considerations for using UAS for stormwater BMP inspections; and, (7) Legal limitations (e.g. restrictions on overhead flights) for UAS for stormwater BMP inspections.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 53-09

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    Maple Consulting, LLC

  • Principal Investigators:

    Perez, Michael

  • Start Date: 20220214
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230628
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01835633
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 53-09
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2022 10:15AM