Evaluating Roadway Surface Rating Technologies

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) uses two main systems for evaluating roadway surfaces: the laser-based International Roughness Index (IRI), and the more subjective, Pavement Surface and Evaluation Rating (PASER) system. In 2012, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) introduced an objective smart phone-based system called DataProbe designed to measure the state of a roadway's surface roughness. This application uses the three-axis acclerometer (typically built into smart phones) to measure the variation in road surface. DataProbe samples the three axis of the accelerometer at approximately 100 samples per second and generates a file with up to 300 seconds of data and generates a data file and uploads this information to a MDOT/UMTRI server via the smartphone's wireless cell phone connection. During the summer and fall of 2012, MDOT paralleled its PASER rating data collection with a DataProbe data collection of much of the same roads rated through the state's PASER data collection. The 2012 DataProbe data was collected and stored at UMTRI. This technology and data forms the basis for UMTRI's proposal. The proposed research study will analyze and compare accelerometer movements from the smart phone (via DataProbe) collected in 2012 and during 2013 (as part of this proposal) with the PASER rating measurements collected on the same portion of the state's roadway system in 2012 and 2013 and determine if a link to the IRI is possible.