Rapid Network Level Survey with Automated Cracking Detection

There are three essential inputs necessary to effectively evaluate pavement condition on a network level. These inputs are roughness, rutting and cracking. The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) routinely collects information that can be processed to produce these factors through its Automated Road Analyzer (ARAN) vehicle. The ARAN vehicle calculates pavement roughness from the pavement profile which is collected using a laser and accelerometer in each wheel path. Rut depths in each wheel path are calculated from the transverse profile generated by scanning lasers, and the pavement cracking is located using images generated by a set of laser based infrared line-scan cameras. While meaningful roughness and rutting data can easily be acquired with the ARAN vehicle and processed, the processing of cracking data remains problematic. The processing of cracking data currently involves the use of manual cracking rating or by the computer cracking software WiseCrax. The use of WiseCrax has drawbacks that slow down the analysis process for cracking information. These drawbacks include: (1) The validation of WiseCrax post processing is relatively slow. ARAN data collection is performed at 50 kph while WiseCrax typically processes cracking data at a rate of 15-20 kph. (2) WiseCrax does not provide the geographic coordinates for individual distress boundaries. (3) WiseCrax software is not user-friendly and is not able to furnish data in multiple format outputs.Therefore, more robust cracking processing software is needed to produce timely information. The team of the proposed research project would provide AHTD an automated image processing system for pavement crack detection that would be fast, accurate, and flexible enough to produce data in many types of crack index outputs. The outcomes of the proposed research can assist AHTD (1) to satisfy both state and Federal data needs and requirements for pavement management concerning network level cracking, and (2) to provide necessary cracking data for calibrating and implementing the new mechanistic-empirical pavement design process DARWin-ME'~'M, which is an out-growth of the NCHRP 1-37A Mechanistic Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG).