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3 Musts for a Pavement Management System

by Kevin G. on February 19, 2014

More and more communities have made the decision to create, update, or improve their pavement management system. With never ceasing increases in construction costs, combined with reductions in available funds, communities are faced with the nearly impossible task of maintaining their roadways.
We’ll cover the very basics of what you must have in your pavement management system. Schneider Geomatics has done numerous webcast, seminars, and presentations on pavement management systems, and I could easily go on and on about this topic; however, I plan on keeping it very simple and just outline the basics.
What are the 3 musts?
  • Rating methodology
  • Strategic maintenance plan for the roadways
  • Strategic maintenance plan for the inventory (data)
The following will take a quick look at all three and include some dos and don’ts.
Rating Methodology: There are many ways to rate a road, but the question is which one is best? A panel of engineers could spend hours arguing and debating this, but why bother? At the end of the day, what is best is truly up to you. However, what is a must is simplicity. Schneider Geomatics is a big proponent of the PASER rating system, because it is simple, fast, and duplicatable. The PASER system is simple because it goes from 1 to 10, while some systems go from 1-100. It is also fast because it does not require anything more than a visual inspection.  Some commonly used systems require the measurements of all cracks and deterioration in the roadway; and this can take a great deal of time. Finally, it is easily duplicatable because it can be easily taught and provides very consistent results even when different individuals are doing the rating.
Strategic Maintenance Plan for the Roadways:  Once an inspection is done and an inventory is complete, you need to have a strategic plan for the maintenance of your roadways. There are many methodologies including the most common “worst-first”. The “worst-first” method is where you inventory your entire roadway system by ranking them from best to worst. Then for maintenance you start at the bottom, the worst, and work your way up. However, while this is by far the most common approach, in today’s economy it is no longer the best approach. Simply put, there is not enough money to replace our roadways as they need replacing. Instead, you will need to create a maintenance system. The most effective maintenance systems actually spend money on some of the better roads first! Yes, let me repeat: spend money on the better roads first!  We can assist you with this any strategic maintenance plan and even help you project how your roads will rate based upon your plan.
Strategic Maintenance Plan for the Inventory:  An absolute must is to have a system in place that you can easily and efficiently monitor, update, and analyze your inventory. We have found the most efficient way of accomplishing this is by the use of GIS. Our pavement management clients are easily able to run reports, track their improvements, and communicate the management plan with their board. The days of having any inventory in a 3-ring binder and sitting on the shelf are long gone. Instead, you need to have it at your fingertips via a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. You can do this with merging your inventory with your GIS or using your inventory as a building block to create a GIS for your community.
There are several ways to put your plan in place, just remember the 3 Musts for a Pavement Management System, and you will be well on your way.