Pradeep Kumar, Scientist, and K. Sitaramanjaneyulu, Head, Pavement Evaluation Division, CSIR-Central Road Research Institute, New Delhi.

Introduction

It is now well established that decision on maintenance, rehabilitation and upgradation/ improvement measures needs to be based on an objective assessment (with an analytical approach) to derive the optimal performance within the given budget. All possible alternative strategies, therefore, need to be considered to arrive at the optimal techno-economical solution. The development of database management system (DBMS) for a given road network through systematic evaluation of roads and collection of road inventory and pavement condition data is a pre-requisite for development of road maintenance management system. One can manage only after when one knows what is required to be managed and thus the need for data collection.

Functional assessment of a pavement is characterized by its geometric features and the surface characteristics. These characteristics are of paramount importance and must be adequate in ensuring appropriate road user comfort and safety, in addition to the reduction in wear and tear of the vehicles using the road and ultimately the reduced road user costs. The effect of roughness on various components making up the vehicle operating cost and the subsequent pavement maintenance cost are well established. Reduced speed of vehicles, early and faster wear and tear of the vehicle’s tires and machine parts, increased consumption of fuel and lubricants, under utilization of rolling stock, discomfort to the road user, reduced travel time, excessive strain on vehicle body and its components, faster deterioration of pavement structure, reduced life of vehicles etc. are some of the factors which are governed by the road roughness. Roughness also increases significantly the maintenance cost of both vehicles and pavements. It becomes clear, therefore, that pavement surface roughness is one of the main factor which needs due attention by engineers and planners.

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