To effectively manage the pavement on the State Highway System (SHS), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) conducts a Pavement Condition Survey (PCS) on nearly 50,000 lane miles of pavement (265 state highways) which have a combined travel of 178 million vehicle miles. The 2015 PCS indicated that 41,756 lane miles (84 percent) of California’s SHS are in good to fair condition.

Distressed lane miles are one of Caltrans’ performance measures and falls under Goal 2: Stewardship and Efficiency. The goal is to reach 90 percent good to fair condition in the next 10 years.

Caltrans has invested in the Automated Pavement Condition Survey (APCS) which uses high definition images and lasers to measure every lane on the system. This data can be used to predict the future performance and will be used to track sustainability and pavement health. To maintain the health of the system, the PaveM software was developed. PaveM is the “State of the Art” technology that stores high definition photo imagery from APCS to analyze every mile of pavement. PaveM targets future repairs that provide the best value for the least amount of money. PaveM makes decisions based on a project optimization tool that uses pavement condition, pavement type, climate, and project history to propose the right repair treatment at the right time.

In the last four years, Caltrans delivered about $4.0 billion in pavement projects on almost 16,500 lane miles. The “2015 Ten-Year SHOPP Plan” anticipates pavement needs to be $2.0 billion per year over the next decade, although only $813 million per year is available.

By efficiently using preventive treatments, Caltrans can avoid more costly repairs in the future. For example, the projects awarded in fiscal year 2013-14 had preventive maintenance costs averaging $115,000 per lane mile, while major rehabilitation work was 8 times more expensive. Annual spending for preventive maintenance has been steady since 2008 and the National Highway System (NHS) routes with smooth ride has increased by about 14 percent since 2005. This improvement in ride quality on the NHS is due to more than seven thousand lane miles of capital pavement projects completed since 2005.

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