3. Road Condition Evaluation, Prioritization, and Optimal Resource Allocation for Highway Maintenance at Network Level
Date of Start

July 2001 to April 2005
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (R, I)


Scope and Objectives

The main objective is to maximize the improvement in the highway conditions, for a given highway network system, through diverse maintenance activities, while remaining withing the limits of available resourcces.

A three-module system for the optimal network level highway maintenance system is proposed in this work and discussed in the following:

(1) Evaluation module
The distress conditions that should be evaluated for each of the sections, in order to characterize the health of the section, are: (a) Structural conditions: It proposes a statistical model, by using the pavement performance data available from the long term pavement performance (LTPP) database of the US Department of Transportation, to evaluate the structural condition of existing pavements from two distress parameters, namely, fatigue cracking and rutting; (b) Traffic safety conditions: Traffic safety conditions are evaluated on the basis of traffic accidents rate, which can be easily obtained from the accident records; (c) Traffic operations conditions: Traffic operation conditions are evaluated on the basis of traffic volume and capacity of the highway facility , volume data can be collected and capacity can be estimated using standard procedures; (d) Riding quality conditions: The conditions of a pavement surface affect the riding quality. Pavement surface may be fractured (cracking etc.), distorted (rutting, corrugation, etc.) or disintegrated (raveling pothole, etc.).

(2) Maintenance urgency determination module
Methodology is suggested to determine the urgency of maintenance requirements at various sections of a network. It is felt that the resources should be allocated based on the urgency associated with the maintenance requirements at various sections. This urgency for maintenance is determined considering present and predicted future distress conditions (assuming nothing is done now) as well as social and political importance of the highway sections. The various factors and sub-factors affecting the urgency are arranged in a hierarchical structure. The impact of each factor is determined from a countrywide survey of experienced transportation professionals using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The hierarchical structure developed to determine the maintenance urgency of sections is also used to determine an index which can be utilized to prioritize sections for maintenance.

(3) Maintenance activities selection module
It is used to develop a method which will determine that which maintenance activities are to be carried out at which section so that the health of the network is maximally improved within the available resources. The method should take into account the urgency of maintenance at various sections while determining the activities. In this work the above problem is viewed as an efficient resource allocation problem and is formulated as a 0-1 integer-programming problem. This model requires the following as input (1) extent of improvement in distress condition due to implementation of a given task at a given section, (2) estimation of resource requirements for each activity for a given section, (3) the availability of various resources, and (4) the urgency of maintenance of each section. The output of the model is the various activities, which should be undertaken at different sections.