Pavement Condition Study
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Pavement Condition Study

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  • Alternative Title:
    Vermont Agency of Transportation Pavement Condition Study
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    Final (2017-2018)
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  • Abstract:
    The purpose of this study is to gather feedback from the traveling public on the performance measures and targets that are used to guide decisions by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) on the investment, timing and location of roadway paving projects. This study utilized an original smartphone app (programmed for both iPhones and Android devices) to gather 799 post-trip pavement condition ratings from 267 licensed Vermont drivers. Study participants were recruited through in-person intercepts at six DMV offices around the state. All 14 Vermont counties were represented in the study. Significant findings include: • Overall, study participants were quite positive about the current condition of Vermont roads. Approximately 70% indicated that the road segment of interest was at least in “acceptable” condition, and only 10% indicated that it was in “unacceptable” condition. • Even road segments that were assigned low condition ratings by VTrans were generally deemed to be in reasonable condition by survey respondents. For example, 80% of segments that VTrans classified as being in “very poor” condition were rated as “good” or “fair” by survey respondents. • Older respondents, infrequent drivers, and individuals driving cars and SUVs (as opposed to trucks) generally provided higher pavement acceptability and condition ratings. • Survey respondents who had traveled over road segments that they considered to be in “poor” or “very poor” condition felt that the segments should be repaired relatively quickly. Nearly a quarter (23%) indicated that these segments should be repaired right away, while another 60% felt that they should at least be repaired within 1-2 years. • The majority of respondents indicated that VTrans should have a target of no more than approximately 5% to 15% of roads in “very poor” condition, which is lower than VTrans’ current target of 25%. Given the generally positive ratings provided by respondents, however, there is a mismatch between what respondents consider “very poor” and what VTrans classifies as “very poor.” This mismatch leads to ambiguity in interpreting drivers’ opinions regarding the 25% target. The fact that survey respondents rated only 3% of all segments as currently being in “very poor” condition indicates that VTrans is already exceeding its customers’ targets of having approximately 5% to 15% of roads in “very poor” condition. These findings suggest if VTrans continues to manage to their current standard, they will likely continue to meet or exceed driver’s standards for pavement quality in Vermont. •VTrans uses several different engineering-based measures of road quality to develop its pavement condition ratings.These measures are all correlated with respondent acceptability, with higher acceptability ratings generally associated with higher average values for the indices. Although other states have conducted studies where drivers were asked to rate pavement quality on specific road segments (e.g., Minnesota DOT 2015; Garvey, Pietrucha, and Poister 2003), this may be the first state-level study to use a real-time data collection app to gather data on drivers’ perceptions of pavement conditions.
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