Real-time computing of pavement conditions in cold regions: A large-scale application with road weather information system

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Pavement conditions including pavement temperatures, freezing and thawing depths, and the consequent mechanical performance are the key to the performance and longevity of the pavement. For example, thaw-weakening is a major cause of pavement damage in seasonally-frozen areas covering half of the U.S., leading to huge financial costs for taxpayers. In recent years, the damage has been lessened due to improved practices with Spring Load Restriction (SLR) policies. However, prevalent SLR date prediction methods/tools are still primitive from the perspective of information technology. Such methods/tools are obtained and/or implemented manually with small amounts of data, labor-intensive observations, and/or subjective experience. The paper reports what has been learned from a recent project supported by the Michigan Department of Transporation for the development of a web-based pavement condition prediction and SLR decision support tool: a web-based app called MDOTSLR. MDOTSLR enables access to much more data with little latency and automates data acquisition, processing, and decision making. In this paper, the data innovations and new models that support the functions of the tool will be first introduced. Followed will be the major functions (or services) of the app including software engineering details. Compared with traditional tools without web delivery, this web-based tool automates the acquisition and processing of weather data, GIS data, road weather information system data, and field measurements in real time and thus enables more accurate and convenient SLR predictions. The tool can be easily extended or modified for other road agencies for immediate financial savings in road maintenance and less disturbance to local transportation and economy.

Publisher's Statement

© 2021 Elsevier B.V. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2021.103228

Publication Title

Cold Regions Science and Technology