Pavement Management in 2021
With the many challenges of 2020, many municipalities weren’t able to accomplish everything they had planned. If your agency is looking to make up for lost ground in 2021, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind when it comes to Pavement Management.
Knowledge is Power: Survey Your Pavement
If it has been 3-5 years since you last looked into surveying the condition of your paved network, perhaps this year is the time to get it done. Road conditions can change dramatically over 3 years, especially if they are already suffering from load associated distresses or drainage problems. IMS recommends doing a semi-automated survey using the latest and greatest laser survey technology. Using the latest technology to provide comprehensive pavement information is our bread and butter. But even if your agency wants to go with a boots on the ground type of walking survey, that is still an incredible leap forward in your agency’s ability to manage the pavement network. Just make sure that whatever data you get is organized by GIS and properly sorted into the asset management system of your choosing.
Know What You Have: Build Right-of-Way Asset Inventories
In addition to a network of pavements, your network of right-of-way assets cannot be overlooked. There are two common ways to inventory these assets. The first is by using imagery that was captured during a pavement survey. If a semi-automated survey is being conducted on your pavement assets, look into whether the surveyor is capable of capturing images of street signs, pavement markings and the like. Since the images will already be linked to GIS, these assets can be recorded into your asset management system by reviewing all the imagery manually. This is generally a reasonably cost sensitive method for collecting assets, so long as it is done at the same time as a pavement survey.
The other, more efficient and slightly more specialized, method is to record right-of-way assets through the use of a LiDAR point cloud. This requires a specialized LiDAR vehicle to drive the pavement network recording data that then must be analyzed and organized into an asset database. A major benefit of this method is that the LiDAR survey is capable of capturing additional data that may be incredibly useful to your agency. A common asset that is collected through this means is pedestrian curb ramps. Sophisticated LiDAR analysis can provide measurements of these curb ramps to ensure that they comply with updated ADA standards. Taking measurements like this through standard imagery would not be possible, and a walking survey of this type of asset is extremely time consuming.
Make Good Decisions: Incorporate Cost of Deferral
When working with a limited budget, the goal is to maximize the value of each dollar. To that end, IMS recommends that agencies adopt a cost of deferral based approach to pavement rehabilitation. This means capturing roads before they deteriorate into a more expensive rehab category. If a road needs an overlay this year, but deterioration projections suggest that it will need a base reconstruction next year, a cost of deferral approach will prioritize this road in order to save money in the long run. Conversely, if the deterioration suggest that the road can survive a few more years before falling to a more expensive rehab category, the road will be deferred so that the resources can be used on a road that is more urgently in need of service. Adopting this approach to pavement management will consistently save an agency money and maximize the value of each pavement rehabilitation dollar. Complete and accurate data collection, and an organized database of streets is a necessary precursor to this approach.
Is it possible that after everything we have been through in 2020, 2021 can be the year we get back on track addressing the infrastructure assets that our lives and business depend on? That is the focus at IMS, and we hope that you join us in the efforts.