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The Importance of Proactive Pavement Management Using an AI Based Automated Road Inspection System

Shifting Focus: From Late-Stage Interventions to Early Defect Rectification

Once Upon a Time. The Problem with Current Pavement Maintenance Inspection Approaches - Maintain-AI
Once Upon a Time...... We Can Improve Current Pavement Maintenance Inspection Approaches.

The Problem with Current Pavement Maintenance Approaches


Global transportation agencies currently invest substantial amounts annually in pavement maintenance and rehabilitation to meet various expectations. However, the prevalent strategies pose significant challenges, affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of these investments. The industry standard relies on infrequent inspections, with many road authorities reviewing their entire network only every 2-3 years or longer. This scarcity often culminates in a reactive maintenance strategy, tackling road defects late in their development, which leads to escalated costs and marginal improvements in pavement conditions.


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Traditional inspection strategies that utilise manual approaches or use unnecessarily expensive LiDAR scanning technology or similar consume a significant portion of public funds while failing to extend the road infrastructure's serviceability. This results in a persistent cycle of escalating rehabilitation costs as we focus more on treating the symptoms rather than preventing the problems. Therefore, the current approach needs reconsideration to enhance the longevity and safety of our road infrastructure while ensuring a more efficient use of funds.

Unravelling the Critical Concepts of Pavement Deterioration and Pavement Cracking Theories


The Pavement Deterioration Theory posits that all pavements, over time, suffer from degradation. This deterioration manifests in various forms, from minor surface cracks to major potholes and can be exacerbated by external factors like weather conditions, heavy loads and inadequate drainage systems.

Similarly, the Pavement Cracking Theory is an essential principle in road maintenance, acknowledging that cracks in pavements are not just common but inevitable. These cracks arise due to a variety of factors, including vehicular stress, weather conditions, sub-grade issues and the simple passage of time.

These two theories are interlinked. Untreated cracks, as per the Pavement Cracking Theory, not only worsen over time but also accelerate the overall rate of pavement deterioration, thus underlining the Pavement Deterioration Theory. This acceleration results from the water ingress enabled by cracks, leading to severe pavement damage such as alligator cracking, depressions, potholes and rutting.

The High Cost of Reactive Maintenance and the Need for Proactivity

One fundamental lesson from both these theories is the high cost of reactive maintenance, both in terms of financial implications and safety risks. Untreated minor defects and cracks can evolve into severe pavement issues requiring substantial rehabilitation or even full reconstruction. Such extensive repairs are significantly more expensive than regular maintenance. Furthermore, these untreated pavement defects pose severe safety risks to road users, causing accidents, traffic disruptions and increased liability for asset owners. This draws attention to the importance of prompt attention to minor defects. Small cracks and slight unevenness, while seeming insignificant initially, can escalate into major problems if left unattended. Therefore, a shift is needed from a reactive approach, where substantial damage is awaited, to a proactive model focusing on regular inspections and minor defect rectification.

The Role of AI in Road Management and Maintenance: The Importance of Timely Defect Identification.


Timely identification of pavement defects is a critical aspect of effective road infrastructure management. The optimal time to apply a treatment is not solely when the greatest improvement in condition is realised but when the greatest improvement is realised at the lowest cost. This requires consistent inspection and proactive maintenance. By the time a road network is inspected every few years or even less, it becomes challenging, if not impossible, to understand the exact health state of a road and then select the optimum treatment to maintain or prolong their serviceability.


More Frequent Road Inspections Will Catch Small Problems Early Before They Become Larger Road Maintenance Problems - Maintain-AI
More Frequent Road Inspections Will Catch Small Problems Early Before They Become Larger Road Maintenance Problems

The Optimal Time for Pavement Rehabilitation Treatments


With the current infrequent approach to pavement maintenance, the optimal time for rehabilitation treatments is often missed. The key is to apply these treatments when they can be most effective and cost-efficient, which is when minor defects are just beginning to appear. These minor defects can be easily addressed with routine maintenance or preventive activities such as asphalt overlay or seal, avoiding the need for more costly and disruptive major rehabilitation or reconstruction down the line.


Read more about the issues of traditional road inspections in this article: https://www.maintain-ai.com/post/detect-road-defects-in-hours


The Consequences of Deferring Consistent Inspection and Timely Maintenance


Deferring the consistent inspection and timely maintenance of road infrastructure leads to accelerated pavement deterioration. Cracks will occur, grow, worsen and if left untreated, will exponentially accelerate pavement deterioration. The issue is that with the current practice of limited inspections, the ability to identify these minor defects and address them timely is greatly reduced. This leads to a situation of 'analysis paralysis', where a significant amount of time and effort is spent identifying pavement defects rather than maintaining and repairing them.


Automated Pavement Surface Condition Surveys Will Drive Positive Change to Your Road Maintenance Strategy - Maintain-AI
Automated Pavement Surface Condition Surveys Will Drive Positive Change to Your Road Maintenance Strategy

The current approach to pavement management is not sustainable. It is high time we shift from a reactive to a proactive pavement asset management approach. The next sections will delve into how Maintain-AI is leading this shift with its innovative use of AI and machine learning for automated pavement inspections.


Balancing Performance, Cost and Risk


In the challenging landscape of pavement asset management, there is a delicate balance to strike between performance, cost and risk. It's a three-pronged equilibrium that requires keen attention, strategic planning and the right tools. The underlying principle here is that proactive maintenance, when executed correctly, can help achieve this balance.


The Importance of Consistent Inspections and Maintenance


Consistent inspections and regular preventative maintenance, through automated road assessments using AI and machine learning algorithms, are key strategies in maintaining a balance between performance, cost and risk. When road asset professionals have access to frequent, objective and automated inspection data, they can make informed decisions that maximise the value of every dollar spent on maintenance.

The process of consistent, almost real time road inspection and timely maintenance is further streamlined with Maintain-AI's innovative AI based road inspection system technology. Through automated road damage detection and by analysing pavement and surrounding infrastructure data, Maintain-AI not only provides a detailed assessment of the pavement’s health state via an automated digital road inspection but also enables asset owners to gather this data more efficiently and objectively – effectively enabling ai road maintenance. The result is an optimised use of available funding, better communication of funding needs and an enhanced ability to monitor and manage pavement networks.



The Two Approaches to Measuring Road Network Condition


When it comes to assessing the condition of a road network, there are typically two approaches. The first is the "Squeaky Wheel" method, which is essentially a reactive strategy where actions are taken based on arising complaints. This method, while common, often leads to escalating costs, poor budget optimisation and an inefficient use of resources due to its reactive nature.


The second and far more effective approach, is taking a proactive strategy. Regular inspections and consistent preventative maintenance, leveraged by AI damage detection and machine learning algorithms, emerge as key strategies in maintaining the balance between performance, cost and risk in road asset management. When road asset professionals have access to frequent, objective and automated inspection data through automated road condition assessments, they can make informed, data-driven decisions that optimise the value of every dollar allocated for road maintenance by allowing for timely and cost-effective interventions.


The Advantages of a Comprehensive and Proactive Approach


Quick, Consistent and Objective Assessments with Maintain-AI will lead to better maintenance outcomes - Maintain-AI
Quick, Consistent and Objective Assessments with Maintain-AI will lead to better maintenance outcomes

A comprehensive and proactive approach to pavement maintenance offers numerous benefits. One of the main advantages is that it helps prevent minor defects from escalating into major issues, thereby significantly reducing potential costs and hazards. Moreover, it allows for the timely application of preventive maintenance activities such as asphalt overlays and seals, which can further extend the service life of the pavement.

Furthermore, this approach provides a better understanding of the entire road network's condition. With Maintain-AI's automated road survey system, asset owners and maintainers can visualise their network more effectively and understand the cost impacts of various maintenance strategies. This data-driven insight is crucial in making informed decisions that align with the goal of maximising the value of each dollar spent on maintenance.

The adoption of a comprehensive and proactive approach to pavement asset management through automated pavement surface assessments, facilitated by AI and machine learning technologies like Maintain-AI, is a 'smarter' strategy. It provides a path to balance performance, cost and risk effectively, thereby enabling us to keep our good roads good.


The Solution: Maintain-AI - An AI Based Road Inspection System


In the face of the many challenges associated with traditional pavement maintenance approaches, Maintain-AI emerges as a robust solution, providing an automated road inspection system that leverages the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide more efficient, cost-effective and proactive pavement asset management.


How Maintain Supports Organisations in the Management of Pavement Assets and Networks


Maintain-AI, by harnessing the potential of cutting-edge technology, is revolutionising the way organisations manage their pavement assets and networks through the digital inspection of roads. With a key focus on delivering more frequent and consistent road inspections, Maintain-AI is aiding organisations in making a significant shift from reactive to proactive maintenance strategies. This approach not only enhances the efficiency of pavement asset management but also optimises the use of available funding, thereby aligning with their principle of 'Good Roads Should Cost Less'.


The Benefits of More Objective Assessment, Monitoring and Communication


One of the game-changing advantages offered by Maintain-AI is the facilitation of more objective and timely assessments of pavement conditions through an automated pavement condition survey that adopts automated road data collection technology. This is achieved through the application of advanced computer vision and machine learning models that detect different types of defects and assess the severity of distresses. By providing a more objective automatic road assessment, Maintain-AI empowers road asset professionals with accurate data, enabling them to make informed decisions about maintenance and rehabilitation needs. This objective monitoring and assessment also aid in better communication of funding needs, which is critical for effective asset management.



The Capabilities of Maintain-AI's AI Solution


Maintain-AI’s AI solution brings to the table a host of capabilities that make it a leading automated road surface inspection solution in the industry. It not only detects pavement defects but also identifies and assesses various other associated infrastructure elements. This is achieved through ai damage inspection analysis of collected road network images, providing a comprehensive view of the entire pavement network including automatic crack detection. Moreover, the solution's intuitive cloud based dashboards offer a user-friendly interface for the review and recording of data, thus facilitating easier data management and decision-making, a road digital twin.


The Identification and Classification of a Pavements Health State


The automated road inspection system from Maintain-AI is designed to detect a wide range of pavement problems, from those requiring just minor repairs to those requiring extensive treatment or rehabilitation. Maintain-AI can assist road authorities in prioritising maintenance efforts so that the most urgent problems are taken care of first. The solution will soon be able to advise on expected treatment costs generated from a database of approximately 800 project case studies. This optimises resource allocation and ultimately saves both time and money. Whether a road requires minor or routine maintenance, preventive measures like asphalt overlay, or a more detailed inspection, Maintain-AI’s automated inspection of transportation infrastructure supports road asset professionals in making the right decisions at the right time.

Maintain-AI acknowledges that its automated inspection system does not replace existing techniques entirely but can serve as a robust supplement for hybrid strategies that aid in efficient pavement asset management. The automated pavement surface condition survey approach emphasises the collection of data on a consistent basis, objectively and efficiently, as the first step towards a proactive pavement maintenance strategy. The technological evolution of Maintain-AI is ongoing, driven by the commitment to assist asset owners and maintainers in the best possible way. It's a testament to their belief that good roads should indeed cost less.


In Summary


After exploring the current challenges associated with pavement maintenance, it is clear that the traditional reactive approach falls short in various aspects. From the high costs of infrequent traditional inspection approaches (manual road assessments and ARAN / ROMDAS scans) to the even higher costs of pavement rehabilitation stemming from untimely defect identification, the need for a more effective, proactive approach is clear hence why including an automated road surface quality inspection strategy can be a dramatic improvement to a road maintenance strategy. The complexities of pavement cracking and deterioration further emphasise this need, highlighting the inevitability of these issues if left unattended.

In balancing performance, cost and risk, the adoption of an automated road analyser for consistent pavement inspection and maintenance routines, along with a comprehensive approach to measuring road network condition, can significantly improve pavement asset management. Timely attention to minor defects can prevent hazardous road conditions and costly repairs, further underscoring the importance of a proactive stance.

Leveraging AI for Efficient Road Maintenance

Maintaining a proactive approach to road maintenance does not come without its challenges. The key lies in timely detection, assessment and treatment of pavement distresses. Here is where AI-based solutions like Maintain-AI can revolutionise road maintenance.

By implementing AI road maintenance pavement inspections, it is possible to optimise road maintenance efforts. This allows for the timely detection and treatment of pavement cracks and defects, thus preventing the escalation of minor issues into major problems. These early interventions can enhance road safety, optimise the use of public funds and extend the lifespan of our road networks.

Enter Maintain-AI, an innovative automated damage detection solution that empowers organisations to manage pavement assets and networks effectively. By offering a more objective method for assessment, monitoring and communication, Maintain-AI provides an unparalleled platform for proactive pavement management. Its Road AI capabilities offer detailed inspection, identifying pavements that require varying levels of maintenance or rehabilitation.

Therefore, do not wait until your pavements are in poor condition before taking action. Let us work together using Maintain-AI’s automatic road distress visual inspection system, the comprehensive, AI-powered solution for pavement asset management which also improves road sustainability practices. Transition from a reactive to a proactive stance with AI inspections and witness significant improvements in cost-efficiency and pavement longevity.


Remember, the key to effective pavement management is not just about reacting to issues – it is about identifying them timely. Using Maintain-AI’s automated road assessment capabilities, you can do just that. Discover the Maintain-AI difference today.



Remember, good roads should cost less! Let's work together.


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info@maintain-ai.com


About Maintain-AI:

Maintain-AI aspires to support Governments, other Road Asset owners and Industry professionals transform pavement and network assessments through AI-driven solutions. Founded on the principle that "Good Roads Should Cost Less", we harness the power of computer vision and machine learning to automate road surface inspections. Our state-of-the-art tools detect road defects and assess related infrastructure, enabling professionals to make data-driven decisions. By advocating for the optimal use of maintenance budgets, we emphasise that well-maintained roads are more cost-effective across a road's complete asset lifecycle. Our commitment is to support regular, objective network inspections, ensuring that every maintenance dollar is maximised. With Maintain-AI, infrastructure asset management is not only efficient but also offers a clear return on investment through maintenance savings. Join us in our mission to make roads better, safer, more sustainable and more cost-effective. All road users deserve it.


digital road inspections

digital asset management

digital transformation

ai damage detection




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