New data collection van to will play key role
in improving pavement management
ITD rolled out a new tool Thursday that will significantly enhance its ability to monitor highway conditions and target pavement management improvements.
A data collection van, unveiled for members of the Idaho Transportation Board during their monthly meeting in Boise, uses the latest technology to record and process data from Idaho’s 5,000 centerline miles of highway.
It will provide more accurate information than the seven-year-old vehicle it replaces, explains Glenda Fuller, ITD Roadway Data Manager.
The retired 2002 data collection van has traveled more than 245,000 miles on Idaho highways. Many of its components are outdated and cannot be replaced or repaired, Fuller said.
Its successor is a mobile technology center that contains twin high-definition video cameras mounted under an extended roof that provide images of the right shoulder and straight-ahead views.
A 360-degree immersive image camera mounted on top of the van produces “dome-like” views of intersections.
A GPS providing latitude/longitude coordinates with 2-3 meter (dynamic) accuracy.
Three laser units built into a custom front bumper provide dynamic longitudinal profiles of the pavement surface to calculate roughness, mega-texture and faulting.
One rear-mounted line scan camera provides ultra-high-resolution surface images the entire width of the lane, allowing highly detailed distress (cracking) ratings to be made.
The highway surface is illuminated by a pair of laser lights that provide consistent lighting regardless of ambient conditions.
A scanning rut laser and rut measurement system collects data from 1,280 points across the width of a 12-foot lane, providing a detailed rut profile.
A single macro laser collects highway “texture” data related to skid resistance and drainage.
The interior is equipped with high-definition cameras, a computer monitor, compact keyboard, two power inverters, seven computers and a gyro controller.
Equipped by Pathway Services of Tulsa, Okla., the van cost $876,100. The purchase price includes a two-year service agreement, a workstation and support, software and licenses, in-vehicle computers and training.
Services similar to those provided by the ITD-owned and operated van cost more than twice the amount ITD will invest over a six-year period with the new van, Fuller said. The data collection van also provides ITD greater flexibility in responding to special requests for data, such as video of “off-system” roads before and after traffic detours.
Data provided by the van is valuable in making pavement management decisions, helps with monitoring guardrails and signs, helps determine allowable heights for commercial vehicles and over-legal permits, identification of cross roads, traffic generation, and highway design and maintenance planning.
It also will enable ITD to meet requirements of the federal Highway Performance Monitoring System.
Fuller said the van will travel about 35,000 miles per year and will record at least one-way data on the entire state highway system. The goal is to capture data on the second direction of travel, if conditions and schedules allow.
Pavement monitoring will begin in the Treasure Valley next month and then expand to other areas as weather permits. It will return this fall to finish capturing data in southwest Idaho. Generally, the van will operate from April through about October.
The van requires a driver and equipment operator but is capable of carrying a third person for observations.