The FHWA Office of Safety–Safety Design Team recently completed a pavement safety analysis research project, “Safety Analysis Opportunities Using Pavement Surface Characterization Based on 3D Laser Imaging.” The project demonstrated using state-of-the-art 3D ultra-laser imaging data collection methodology that incorporates an integrated data platform and higher data resolution.
This technology offers full-width pavement coverage, less interruption to traffic, and more robust software solutions that will result in a more efficient and cost-effective data collection process. It may also potentially lead to new measurement standards that will improve pavement safety evaluation, as pavement surface properties play critical roles in maintaining proper interaction between tire and pavement in addition to allowing for the necessary level of drainage for both pavement and safety management.
The project, which collected pavement surface characteristic data in several States, also demonstrates the value of continuous friction measurement with state-of-the-art safety analysis tool as part of pavement friction management program. Specifically, three applications based on 3D Ultra have been investigated in this study for various aspects of pavement surface safety analysis:
- Effectiveness and performance of High-Friction Surface Treatment (HFST) at the national level.
- Investigation of geometric texture indicators for pavement safety with 1mm 3D data.
- Evaluation of pavement surface hydroplaning with 1mm 3D data.