Automated Guardrail Inventory and Condition Evaluation

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) actively works with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) implementation. It is critical to plan and manage MASH upgrades and integrate the guardrail asset within its asset management plan with a complete guardrail inventory. This proposed study is aimed at developing and validating new processes using automated methods to identify and extract locations of in-service guardrail and evaluate condition and compliance using pilot-testing road sections. The detailed objectives include: (1) Developing an automated method for determining the presence of guardrails along the roadway and for extracting critical information, including georeferenced starting and ending points, terminal types, curb presence, lateral offset and elevation; and (2) Developing an automated method for identifying typical conditional changes for guardrails, including face dent, end terminal damage/missing, guardrail support deficiency. The research team will also investigate the feasibility of identifying missing bolt or connection failure of guardrails using image processing. The anticipated deliverables include a complete, georeferenced or linear referenced guardrail inventory for the selected pilot-testing sections, integrating the in-service presence and condition information.