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Millimetre Precision in Road Management: Is it Necessary?

Artificial Intelligence is Reshaping Road Maintenance Strategies, Demonstrating that Millimetre Precision is Not Always Necessary for Optimisation

More Frequent and Consistent Assessments of a Road’s Health State are Proven to be More Valuable to Road Maintenance Strategies - Maintain-AI
What is More Important to Road Surface Inspections for Improved Road Maintenance? Read on.


While there's no denying that precision plays a crucial role in road maintenance, mandating millimetre accuracy is often an unnecessary expense. In fact, choosing practical solutions and strategies can lead to more significant improvements in road performance over its lifecycle while being cost-effective at the same time. In this article we explore the debate around millimetre precision in road management and understand its implications for the industry.

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Why Millimetre Precision in Road Management is Less Important Than Data Collection Consistency

When it comes to road maintenance strategies, obtaining accurate data is important. However, the cost involved in obtaining and maintaining millimetre accurate data can be hefty and may not always justify the benefits. This is why it is essential to consider alternative, more practical methods that can provide desired outcomes, even if they may not be as precise. More frequent and consistent assessments of a road’s health state are proven to be more valuable to road maintenance strategies.

Impact of Inspection Delays and Action on Road Integrity and a Road's Lifecycle Costs Are Considerable - Maintain-AI
Impact of Inspection Delays and Action on Road Integrity and a Road's Lifecycle Costs Are Considerable

Local and state governments, as well as other relevant authorities, can choose more cost and time efficient alternatives that can provide the necessary information to help them make well-informed maintenance decisions. By adopting this approach, they can optimise budgets and expenses and achieve safe and well-maintained road infrastructure. It is crucial to strike a balance between the cost and benefits of obtaining road health data to ensure that road maintenance strategies are effective and sustainable.

Maintain-AI now provides the possibility of reliably assessing a road network on a more consistent basis.

Types of Data Necessary for Road Maintenance Improvement

Collecting road maintenance data to identify critical road defects is an important process that helps ensure safe and smooth roadways for drivers. However, obtaining millimetre accuracy data is not always necessary and can be costly and time-consuming.

Instead, focusing on collecting relevant data about the damaged section such as location, type of defect and severity more frequently will provide increasingly valuable information to help our road maintenance authorities make confident and informed decisions about repairs and maintenance.

Understanding a defect’s extent can help maintenance professionals prioritise their tasks, allocate resources more efficiently and ultimately save money. Therefore, collecting road maintenance data that is consistent and relevant offers a cost-effective solution to ensuring safer and better performing roads for everyone.

Consistent Inspections Will Return the Most Benefit From Any Road Inspection Approach - Maintain-AI
Consistent Inspections Will Return the Most Benefit From Any Road Inspection Approach

Fundamentally, more frequent inspections of pavement networks provides the most benefit to "Saving the Good Roads" and reducing the lifecycle costs of Road Network ownership for several reasons:

  • More frequent inspections allow for earlier identification of potential issues. By inspecting the road more often, problems can be identified and addressed before they become more severe and costly to repair.

  • Regular inspections can help to identify trends and patterns in road damage. By collecting data on the condition of the road over time, it is possible to identify areas that are more prone to damage and prioritise repairs accordingly.

  • More frequent inspections can help to prioritise repairs and allocate resources more effectively. By regularly assessing the overall condition of the road, maintenance teams can identify the most pressing issues and allocate resources accordingly.

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 Role of Practical and Innovative Solutions

Road maintenance authorities face the challenge of maintaining their road infrastructure while minimising costs. While accurate data collection and maintenance has traditionally been considered essential for this purpose, it may not always be feasible or cost-effective or actually beneficial considering the infrequent nature this accurate information is collected, for example, from ARAN vehicles or similar.

...if money is short – and it usually is – there's only one rational course of action:​ Maintain existing roads before funding new ones. Inspect your roads more often to make better decisions. Make sure it is done today, and even every day. Because tomorrow, it will be much more expensive... (PIARC – World Road Association)

However, by employing practical solutions such as regular road inspections and proactive maintenance programs, authorities can improve their road maintenance strategies without requiring millimetre precision data but still valuable data. Furthermore, utilising modern technology such as automated road assessments that use computer vision machine learning approaches such as that offered by Maintain-AI will also aid in identifying potential issues before they become costly repairs. Implementing this practical solutions can lead to significant improvements in road maintenance, ultimately resulting in more efficient strategies – time and cost.


It is important to note that while accurate data is ‘nice-to-have’ as data points for inclusion in a road maintenance strategy, achieving millimetre-level accuracy may not always be necessary. Accuracy is useful, but it is not the sole determining factor in developing strategies for road maintenance.

Balancing Performance, Cost and Risk: Why Consistent Inspections with Maintain-AI is a 'Smarter' Strategy - Maintain-AI
Balancing Performance, Cost and Risk: Why Consistent Inspections with Maintain-AI is a 'Smarter' Strategy

It is possible to achieve significant improvement in road conditions and enhance overall safety through practical solutions that also offer cost-effective, consistent and timely data retrieval and analytics.

By focusing on practical and innovative solutions, such as Maintain-AI’s automated road surface inspection solution, road maintenance authorities will be able to improve road quality and make them safer for everyone. An efficient approach to road maintenance that prioritises practicality over unnecessary accuracy, whilst still delivering good precision, will thus bring significant cost savings and enhance road safety outcomes.

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

Let us know your thoughts?

Drive safely;

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.

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