PAV-DT: Bright future for cost‐effective preventive road pavement maintenance in Europe

The PAV-DT project ends after 36 months of research and development with an innovative approach for cost‐effective preventive maintenance, where it is necessary to apply the right treatment to the right pavement section at the right time. As a result, the PAV-DT system will have positive environmental and social impacts as well as introduce completely new and innovative business models on the pavement monitoring market.

After 36 months, the H2020-funded research project PAV-DT: A disruptive technology that enables low-cost real‐time monitoring of road pavement condition and automatically designs plans for predictive maintenance has been finalised. Coordinated by BECSA in collaboration with consortium partners Applus, Micro-Sensor, MINDS & SPARKS and the Polytechnic University of Valencia, a set of technologies has been developed that will enable the next generation of road pavement monitoring and preventive maintenance.

Importance of road infrastructure and its monitoring

Road infrastructure represents one of the most valuable and critical assets in the EU. Therefore, it needs to be properly maintained in order to reduce the associated economic and social costs, such as increased transport times as well as reduced level of services and overall road safety. Based on their accuracy, all monitoring devices are grouped within 4 classes (I – IV), with class I having the highest measurement accuracy. In general, the higher the accuracy, the lower the speed of operation. On the other hand, to achieve higher operational speeds, a more sophisticated and expensive technology is required, which in turn is more susceptible to the effect of weather conditions, which means, for example, that the presence of water can introduce errors or decrease accuracy.

PAV-DT project’s innovative achievements

As an answer to these challenges, the PAV-DT innovative solution represents a low-cost monitoring system that can be installed in any conventional vehicle in a straightforward and simple way. This allows to obtain results as a class I pavement monitoring system that has the ability to process and analyse the vehicle’s dynamic behaviour records (vertical accelerations) and obtain results of the roughness profile (IRI) as well as the existing defects, their location and severity (defect survey). As a result, the PAV-DT system consists of a hardware and a software subsystem, which facilitate decision-making for pavement maintenance, as well as enable complete information management from a platform hosted in the cloud.

Awareness raising and demonstrations for clients

Dissemination activities were an integral part and have been carried out since the beginning of the PAV-DT project. Here, the main goal was to achieve a high multiplier effect and to raise awareness about project results at institutional, local, national and international levels. Based on varying traveling restrictions caused by the global pandemic, the PAV-DT project participated in both physical and online events. As a result, the PAV-DT project has been presented and featured in numerous trade fairs, international summits, conferences, workshops, publications and other special events as well as demonstrations of the fully-functioning PAV-DT system in an operational environment to potential clients. Most notably, the PAV-DT project was the winner of the award for the Best Prototype Demonstrator at Innovacarretera 2019.

Key project outputs

After 36 months, the project concluded with the following key achievements:

  • Defined software features and requirements to offer PAV-DT as a service to road maintenance companies and operators
  • Defined hardware requirements to comply with EU and worldwide regulations in order to obtain the necessary approvals for the commercialization of the system
  • Developed a digital cloud-based platform to deliver PAV-DT as an information management service for facilitating pavement maintenance decision-making
  • Successful demonstration and validation of the final PAV-DT solution in a real-life testing scenario for monitoring pavement conditions and creating predictive maintenance plans
  • Defined effective exploitation and business models to maximise the results and achievements of the PAV-DT project

Future environmental and social impacts

Two of the main achievement indicators that determined the applicability and quality of the PAV-DT measurement system were repeatability and precision of the results. After the successful certification and final validation, the PAV-DT system can now fully be introduced to the pavement monitoring system market. Based on the advantages it offers compared to conventional competing solutions, a high-impact market entry and fast market growth are both expected. Furthermore, PAV-DT will also produce indirect environmental and social impacts by improving the preservation of pavement surfaces, and thus having a positive effect on road safety and traffic mobility. Finally, all these indirect impacts can also be translated to environmental improvements, as they are contributing to the reduction of road CO2 emissions and the overall road-carbon footprint.

Prediction data, historical data, analysis, data analysis, preventive maintenance, roads, highways, condition monitoring, International Roughness Index, prevention, development, implementation, sensor integration, environment, social impacts, awareness-raising