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Key Findings From LTPP Distress Data [techbrief]
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    Within the Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) program, two approaches to pavement distress data collection have been used: manual distress surveys and photographic surveys. In both approaches, the type, severity, and extent of the distress observed on the pavement are determined and recorded by trained personnel using the definitions and measurement and rating criteria provided in LTPP's distress identification manual. Differences between the two survey methods, when examined, suggest that some reconciliation may be needed before the data obtained with them may be combined for use in pavement performance analysis. For this reason, a study was undertaken to pursue this reconciliation. The findings of this study have some important implications for future work with the LTPP distress data and for agencies collecting similar distress data for their own applications. The most important finding of this investigation is that there is no systematic difference in the distress data that is attributable to the method of survey. Thus, no reconciliation of data differences due to distress survey methods is needed prior to combining photographic and manual distress data for use in subsequent analysis. It was also found that the majority of the distress data reflect rational time trends and are, therefore, suitable for use in future performance analysis. Finally, the methodology applied to evaluate the LTPP distress data is very promising as a quality control tool. It is anticipated that this methodology will be used to enhance LTPP quality control measures.

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