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Pavement Design & Pavement Performance

Aerial view of pavement work
Department of Transportation

Pavement Design & Pavement Performance

Evaluation of MDOT’s Methodologies for both Quantifying Pavement Distress & Modeling Pavement Performance for LCC and RSL Estimation Purposes

Project Number: SPR-1737

Contract Number:


Start Date: 

End Date:


Since the inception of its pavement management system in the early 1990’s, the Michigan DOT has been using the Distress
Index (DI) as a measure of surface condition for pavements. The DI is based on an assignment of increasing-value numeric
“points” to specific distress type-and-severity observations obtained through detailed surveys; the more detrimental a distress
type/severity observation is to pavement structural condition, the higher the assigned point value. The distress information is
collected via digital images by vendors on roughly half the MDOT network every year. There appears to be a gap between what
the state of the practice in the pavement data collection industry typically provides nationwide, and the complexity of the distress
information MDOT asks for. MDOT has decided to suspend the collection of the full extent of the distresses typically requested,
and to suspend the use of DI as the pavement condition measure. This research is expected to investigate and recommend a
new condition measure, or revisions to the existing DI system, that MDOT can utilize moving forward. This new/revised measure
is expected to be compatible with what the pavement data collection industry can deliver in an accurate and timely manner. It is
also expected to have low impact on MDOT’s business practices and processes, including the remaining service life (RSL)
estimation process and the life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) process.



  • Final Report
  • Spotlight



Research Manager Project Manager Performing Organization
Andre Clover Michael Eacker Michigan State University