Development and Implementation of a Simplified System for Assessing the Condition of Irish Regional and Local Roads
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The surface condition of road pavements is a vital element in pavement management to prioritize projects, select appropriate treatments and make the best use of available resources. In Ireland, the overall road network of 99,008 kilometres includes 5,415 kilometres of National Roads and 93,593 kilometres of Regional and Local Roads. To evaluate the condition of the Regional and Local Roads, a simplified pavement inspection methodology, the Pavement Surface Condition Index (PSCI) rating system, has been developed. The PSCI system is outlined in a new Rural Flexible Roads Manual published by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The manual describes types of defects for Irish roads and provides a simple 1 to 10 scale based on pavement defects to visually rate pavement surface condition. The condition survey is carried out from a moving vehicle and the assigned PSCI rating is recorded and geo-referenced using an innovative tablet and App device. The results of the rating system provide a standardized approach to link pavement distress to specified maintenance treatment measures for Irish roads. The implementation of the Rural Flexible Roads Manual and PSCI rating system involved the development of new IT solutions and the training of local authority personnel in 31 Local Authorities. The simplified system and App device is being used by local authorities to visually rate their rural road networks with over 45,000 kilometres of network rated to date. In addition, the PSCI was successfully used as part of a major study in 2011/12 to survey the entire network of 13,121 kilometres of Regional Roads. The overall objective is to use the results of the 1 to 10 rating to establish the existing pavement condition, and the lengths of roadway requiring various types of remedial works, both nationally and at county level. This paper describes the development and implementation of a new Rural Flexible Roads Manual and PSCI rating system using an innovative tablet and App device for Irish roads. In addition, the key role of the PSCI data in the management of the Irish roads network and experience to-date of local agencies in the use of the system is discussed.