A novel processing methodology for traffic-speed road surveys using point lasers

Wenda Li, Michael Burrow, Nicole Metje, Yueyue Tao, Gurmel Ghataora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The rapidly increasing traffic volumes using local road networks allied to the implications of climate change drive the demand for cost-effective, reliable and accurate road condition assessment. A particular concern for local road asset managers is the loss of material from the road surface known as fretting which unchecked can lead to potholes. In order to assess the road condition quantitatively and affordably, a system should be designed with low complexity, be capable of operating in a variety of weather conditions and operate at normal traffic-speeds. Many different techniques have been developed for road condition assessment such as ground penetrating radar, visual sensors and mobile scanning lasers. In this work, the use of the point laser technique for scanning the road surface is investigated. It has the advantages of being sufficiently accurate, is relatively unaffected by levels of illumination and it produces relatively low volumes of data. In this work, road fretting/surface disintegration was determined using a novel signal processing approach which considers a number of features of reflected laser signals. The proposed methodology was demonstrated using data collected from the UK’s local road network. The experimental results indicate that the proposed system can assess road fretting to an accuracy which is comparable to a visual inspection, and at Information Quality Level (IQL) 3 which is sufficient for tactical road asset management whereby road sections requiring treatment are selected and appropriate treatments identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number1
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Road condition assessment
  • point laser
  • signal processing
  • peak detection


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