The National Academies

ACRP Synthesis 11-03/Topic S09-09 [Active (Synthesis)]

Automated Pavement Condition Survey Practices at Airports
[ ACRP 11-03 (Synthesis of Information Related to Airport Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 10/22/2019 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jordan Christensen
Research Agency: Woolpert, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Vivek Khanna
Effective Date: 10/21/2021
Fiscal Year: 2020

Final Scope

Pavement condition data is a critical component of all pavement management systems. The accuracy and validity of pavement condition data is the basis for many activities conducted by airports and local agencies. Pavement condition data is used, for example, to support asset management, assess existing and future pavement condition, establish budget needs and evaluate budget impacts, and select projects for pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. For example, NPIAS airports are required to maintain a Pavement Management System to be eligible for FAA grant programs, but they are given latitude in the methodology used to collect pavement distress data.


ACRP Research Report 203, Collecting, Applying, and Maintaining Pavement Condition Data at Airports, was published in 2019. The report describes best practices in collecting and using airfield pavement condition data. As part of the pavement management process the data are used to determine the Pavement Condition Index (PCI), which in turn is used to inform and improve operations, maintenance, and capital improvement programs. The availability of guidance to help airports determine the best approaches to collect, apply, and maintain pavement condition data has not kept pace with rapid changes in the associated technology, and this report was developed to address the need for guidance on the strategies available for pavement condition data collection, use, and storage. Many airports approach this topic differently, and with new technologies deployed, there will continue to be a broad range of practices. The guidelines presented in ACRP Research Report 203 help those involved in airport pavement condition data to sort through associated decisions related to those practices. Similarly, an initial NCHRP Synthesis 334, Automated Pavement Distress Collection Techniques, 2004, documents highway community practice and research and development efforts in the automated collection and processing of pavement condition data techniques typically used in network-level pavement management. The study covered all phases of automated pavement data collection and processing for pavement surface distress, pavement ride quality, rut-depth measurements, and joint-faulting measurements. Included in the scope were technologies employed (now potentially dated), contracting issues, quality assurance, costs and benefits of automated techniques, monitoring frequencies and sampling protocols in use, degree of adoption of national standards for data collection, and contrast between the state of the art and the state of the practice. Three case studies are included as examples of transportation agencies applying a variety of methods for pavement condition data collection and processing.


Airport agencies have implemented automated pavement data collection for several years now. It is important to learn from their experience and the improvements in their process over time. This concise synthesis of practice intends to document existing practices from a range of geographically and size diverse airports. Compilation of practices, lessons learned, and the current state of practice will be very beneficial to airports and agencies.


The objective of this synthesis is to document airport practices, challenges, and lessons learned in conducting automated pavement condition surveys. The study is intended to showcase practices, integration of automated data collection into pavement management systems, and efforts needed for reporting pavement condition. The intended audience for this compilation of practice includes airport agencies and staff responsible for airfield pavement maintenance management systems.


Information to be described in a concise report to describe airport practices:

·    Industry standards

·    Pavement distress types, including Foreign Object Damage (FOD) potential

·    Pavement roughness data

·    Technology-based data collection methodologies, to include feature sampling and overall area surveyed

·    Cost considerations

·    Equipment and sensor systems

·    Software platforms

·    Data analysis techniques

·    Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) methodologies

·    Appendix materials as needed

·    Further research to close knowledge gaps


Information will be collected through a literature review, a survey of state aeronautical agencies, airports (geographically and NPIAS category distributed), with selected follow up to document case examples highlighting effective practices including small airports with fewer resources.


Partial Information Sources

ACRP Research Report 203, Collecting, Applying, and Maintaining Pavement Condition Data at Airports, 2019. https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/179612.aspx

NCHRP Synthesis Report 334, Automated Pavement Distress Collection Techniques, 2004. https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/155178.aspx

NCHRP Synthesis Report 531, Automated Pavement Condition Surveys, 2019. https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/179365.aspx  

Airfield Pavement Management Framework using a Multi-Objective Decision Making Process. [Project]. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology. Start date: 1 Sep. 2018.



Peshkin, David; Dzwilewski, Peter-Paul F; Potvin, Kyle M; Gauthier, Katherine; Wade, Monty; Risner, Eric; Robinson, Ryan; Snyder, Chris; Cardwell, Marianne; Feighan, Kieran. Guidelines for Collecting, Applying, and Maintaining Pavement Condition Data at Airports. ACRP Research Report, Issue 203, 2019, 123p



Tingle, Jeb S; Norwood, Gregory J; Cotter, Brian. Use of Continuous Friction Measurement Equipment to Predict Runway Condition Rating on Unpaved Runways. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Issue 2626, 2017, pp 58–65



Buttlar, William G; Alavi, Amir; Brown, Henry; Sills, Henry; Mesa, Amanda; Okenfuss, Elizabeth. Pavement Roughness Measurement Using Android Smartphones: Case Study of Missouri Roads and Airports. University of Missouri, Columbia; Applied Research Associates; Missouri Department of Transportation; Federal Highway Administration, 2018, 124p



Airfield and Highway Pavements 2017: Airfield Pavement Technology and Safety. International Conference on Highway Pavements and Airfield Technology 2017, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017, 259p



Zhan, You; Li, Qiang Joshua; Yang, Guangwei; Wang, Kelvin C P. Performance Monitoring of Pavement Surface Characteristics with 3D Surface Data. International Conference on Highway Pavements and Airfield Technology 2017, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017, pp 195-206



Mazari, Mehran; Beltran, Jorge; Tirado, Cesar; Lemos, Luis; Nazarian, Soheil. Evaluating Stiffness Parameters of Unbound Geomaterial Layers Using Intelligent Compaction, Plate Load Test, and Light Weight Deflectometer. International Conference on Highway Pavements and Airfield Technology 2017, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017, pp 186-194



Villarreal, Jose; Hossain, M. Condition Evaluation of General Aviation Airport Runway Pavements. Airfield and Highway Pavements 2015, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2015, pp 572-580



Karim, Fareed M A. The airfield pavement condition index (PCI) evaluation by visual inspection method. Journal of Airport Management, Volume 8, Issue 3, 2014, pp 275-285



Li, Qiang (Joshua); Wang, Kelvin C P; Yang, Guangwei; Li, Lin. One-mm 3D Laser Imaging Survey for Comprehensive Runway Evaluation. 2014 FAA Worldwide Airport Technology Transfer Conference, Federal Aviation Administration, 2014, 13p



Lima, D., Santos, B., & Almeida, P. (2019). Methodology to assess airport pavement condition using GPS, laser, video image and GIS. Paper presented at the Pavement and Asset Management - Proceedings of the World Conference on Pavement and Asset Management, WCPAM 2017.



Rodriguez, D. D., & Edwards, L. (2017). Implementing the traffic speed deflectometer for airfield runway assessment. Paper presented at the Bearing Capacity of Roads, Railways and Airfields - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on the Bearing Capacity of Roads, Railways and Airfields, BCRRA 2017.



Drenth, K., Ju, F. H., & Tan, J. Y. (2016). Structured management of airfield pavements using effective tools. Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Pavements, MAIREPAV 2016.



Topic Panel

Mujeeb Basha, American Veteran Industries
Alessandra Bianchini, Lynn Haven, FL
Halil Ceylan, Iowa State University
Margaret Covalt, Applied Pavement Technology
Ryan Hanson, HDR
Vivek Jha, Advance Infrastructure Design
Shenghua Wu, University of South Alabma
Chrsitopher Oswald, ACI-NA
Matthew Brynick, FAA


Vivek Khanna, Woolpert, Inc.


TRB Staff
Jordan Christensen

Demisha Willliams


First Panel Meeting: 10/21/2021, via Zoom
Teleconference: 11/23/2021 9AM EDT via Zoom
Workplan Delivered: 12/7/2021 
Comments Due (Email): 12/14/2021
Draft Report Delivered: 4/1/2022
Second Panel Meeting: 4/20/2022, (in-person)


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