Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Kevin D. Hall

Committee Member

Kelvin Wang

Second Committee Member

Andrew Braham

Abstract

Roadway pavement distress evaluations are vital to understanding the mechanics of pavement stability, determining the distribution of rehabilitation costs, and knowing the appropriate rehabilitation strategies. Advancements in technology over the past two decades have changed the way these surveys have been performed by means of automated data collection and interpretation. More and more state agencies have invested in automated road analyzing vehicles that are able to collect high resolution images of the pavement. Fewer have adopted automated data processing software with the ability to interpret road distresses due to the common discrepancies in distress classification algorithms.

In addition to automated data acquisition and interpretation, efforts to implementing automated pavement design software have also progressed in recent years. The Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) is a recent pavement design tool that is in the process of replacing the 1993 American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Guide as the primary design agent. MEPDG incorporates numerous pavement design traits and conditional factors to predict pavement structural performance. This document investigates the methods behind the calibration for automated pavement distress evaluation and design technologies in order to facilitate the transition into the technology-based MEPDG for the state of Arkansas.

This research describes the implementation of a post-processing tool that refines the Automated Distress Analyzer (ADA) software cracking results in order to better replicate a desired outcome. The tool was first developed to help ADA match pavement cracking distress tabulations derived by human interpreters, which was considered to be the ground truth. The purpose of this research was to determine whether MEPDG distress predictions better match the tool-equipped automated tabulations as opposed to the ADA software on its own and the distress results provided by human surveyors. An ideal match between MEPDG and the ADA software results, depending on their relation to human interpretations, may lead to quicker and less error-prone methods in pavement evaluation and calibration in order to help Arkansas keep up with the MEPDG system. The results showed that MEPDG predictions match automated interpretations after the implementation of the post-processing tool better than human interpretations.

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