Development of a Quality Management Plan for Pavement Condition Data in Connecticut

In order to preserve and maintain a pavement network in an adequate condition, an effective Pavement Management System (PMS) must provide reliable data on pavement surface condition. When collected regularly with the use of properly trained personnel and equipment, such data can help in making educated budgetary decisions for pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) employs the Automatic Road Analyzer (ARAN) vans with Pavemetric 3-D laser systems to analyze pavement surface characteristics. Although the vans are identical, discrepancies in the data collected by the two vans have been identified plausibly due to a change in the computation algorithm; sensor and computer malfunction(s); variations in survey speed; and, vehicle wandering within the lane during data collection. The sources of discrepancy were identified through the analysis of spatial measurements (GPS) and raw profile data. This normally would not be performed by the CTDOT PMS personnel but would rely on the computational and reporting routines created by the equipment vendor, as done by most agencies. As a result, it became apparent that the CTDOT needed to establish a more rigorous quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) protocol to ensure an acceptable level of reliability for pavement condition data. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has published final requirements for National Performance Management Measures for the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) to monitor system performance on the National Highway System (NHS). Part of this requirement is the development, approval by FHWA and utilization of a pavement Data Quality Management Program (QMP), on or before May 20, 2018, that addresses the quality of all NHS data reported for the NHPP. Hence, this project outlines the objectives and the work plan for preparation of the QMP for pavement condition data, which will address the data collection equipment calibration and certification; certification process for persons performing manual data collection; data quality control measures to be conducted before data collection begins and periodically during the data collection program; data sampling review and checking processes; error resolution procedures and data acceptance criteria; and, procedures for future updates/revisions of QMP due to changes in technology/regulations. The objectives of this project are: (1) Prepare a Quality Control Plan to address variability in pavement data in terms of smoothness (IRI), rutting, surface cracking, and road profile characteristics. (2) Develop Quality Acceptance thresholds and error resolution procedures for pavement condition indicators, for smoothness (IRI), rutting, surface cracking, and road profile characteristics. (3) Develop a Quality Management Plan that covers the required quality assurance activities before, during, and after data collection and processing, and that can also be submitted for FHWA approval, by CTDOT, for the NHPP Data Quality Management Program described in 23CFR §490.319 (C). This project will result in CTDOT having guidelines on how to create a data quality management program that allows for simultaneously improving the pavement data collection process, gaining confidence in reported pavement conditions and satisfying federal requirements for pavement condition data submitted to the NHPP. This in turn will ultimately lead CTDOT to make more optimal decisions for pavement maintenance, preservation and rehabilitation.