Development of a Smartphone-Based Road Performance Data Collection Tool

Project Details



19-705, TR-777






Iowa Department of Transportation
Iowa Highway Research Board

Principal Investigator
Halil Ceylan

Director, PROSPER

Co-Principal Investigator
Sunghwan Kim

Associate Director, PROSPER

Co-Principal Investigator
Wensheng Zhang

Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, Iowa State University

About the research

The overall ride quality of pavement is affected by pavement roughness (or smoothness) which also has an influence on fuel consumption and emission levels. Due to the high costs associated with pavement roughness data collection (characterized through the International Roughness Index [IRI]) on an annual basis, a low-cost smart phone based nonproprietary collection system is desired by local public agencies (LPAs) to collect their pavement distress data on an annual basis. Also, LPAs have a need to incorporate automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology to better manage their road systems.

The objectives of this research is listed as follows:

  • The first objective of this research is to develop a smartphone-based (mobile application) pavement roughness measurement system for collecting roughness data at an appropriate frequency required for pavement management and maintenance planning.
  • The second objective is to identify and evaluate the potential capacities of a smartphone-based tool for detecting and measuring other road surface distress types, including cracking, rutting, faulting, and so on.
  • The third objective is to develop a standardized nonproprietary data collection tool that can be used to collect roughness data required for pavement management and would also have the capabilities of providing the location and optional sensor data necessary for AVL systems.
  • The fourth objective would be to test and calibrate the standardized nonproprietary collection tool for the various selected brands and types of popular Android smartphones in comparison to Class 1 profilometer specified by ASTM E 950 (e.g., high speed inertial profilometer unit, if available) with known high accuracy of IRI and GPS values to allow for field implementation being used in different types of vehicles.
  • The fifth objective is to evaluate effective options to provide wireless communication links to deliver data between the smartphone or nonproprietary collection tool and the ICEA Service Bureau.