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Pavement Condition Ratings: Don’t stress the distress.

September 29, 2017

The backbone of any pavement management system is the measurement of the existing pavement conditions. In order to achieve a representative assessment of the current conditions, we need to quickly and efficiently gather information and process the observations into a value that can be used to rate the pavements for evaluation.

This also initiates development of performance curves used for prediction of future performance. We often receive questions regarding the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) values we provide from our field data collection. We believe it may be helpful to answer commonly asked questions about this scoring system. After all, PCI isn’t something to be ignored.

Potential outcome of extreme pavement distress, when PCI is ignored.

What is the Pavement Condition Index (PCI)?

As defined by ASTM-D6433-11, PCI is a parameter commonly used as a scaled measurement of the distresses observed on the pavement surface. A scale from 0 to 100, with the higher values indicating better conditions, represents the pavement’s current state. In order to interpret the PCI values obtained from field observations, we believe it is necessary to first understand how the values are calculated. The PCI score is based on a series of deduct curves representing various distress types with three severity levels for each distress (low, moderate, and high).

Values obtained from these deduct curves depend upon the density and severity of each distress. The variability of deduction values is based on the type of distress, largely by the differential of environmental aging versus structural distresses. The summation of these deducts is basically subtracted from the perfect score of 100, after corrections are made for the number of distress types. It is valuable to understand that not all distresses indicate similar failure or deterioration rates. Deductions for environmental aging distresses may be relatively small while deductions for structural distresses can be four to five times greater.

Pavement distress example imagery.

At what level is the PCI value really used within a pavement management system?

Pavement management can be divided into two operating levels, the network level and the project level. The network level deals with the key administrative decisions of the pavement system and the service level that should be maintained. The question of which street sections need work, how much money is needed, when treatment is scheduled, and which needs should be funded are a few of the elements involved in the network-level.

The PCI value is most often used within the network level to define network conditions and differentiate between management sections that should be chosen for maintenance. Once management sections are chosen for funding within a given year, the project level deals with technical management decisions for more detailed conditions and specific project conditions. Given that a particular section will receive funding for maintenance, the project-level will help find the best alternative treatment to apply.

Pavement project work.

Is the PCI value calculated from all of the distresses within the roadway?

Within each management section of roadway, one or more survey units are inspected and rated to represent the condition of the entire management section. The entire management section is rarely rated completely. Due to cost constraints of rating 100 percent of the roadway, not to mention the time involved, experience has determined that smaller survey areas provide sufficient information to represent the overall pavement condition.

This means that distresses within the roadway that do not occur in the survey area will not be rated, or other distresses may only exist in the survey area but not throughout the entire management section. However, our data collection provides images of all of the lanes driven and can be reviewed at a later time if questions arise concerning distresses outside of the rated survey sections.

PCI road survey results.

Do the surveys cover all of the lanes

The lanes driven during a collection period are chosen to represent the overall condition of the roadway, but may not include all lanes. For example, on a two-lane road, both directions are driven and collected, while on a four-lane roadway, just the outside lanes of each direction are typically driven. For a six-lane roadway, typically the outside and inside lane of each direction are driven.

We generally find that distresses outside of the survey areas are isolated and maintained as such; therefore, it is not imperative that the survey is inclusive of all of the distresses in a management section. Surveying more pavement in a management section, will likely not significantly change the general assessment or decisions made for a particular roadway.

What does PCI really represent?

Scores represent the general conditions, but may not document all distresses that should be repaired within a management section. The percentages of distress observed in the survey area are extrapolated over the entire section to determine maintenance budgets. Detailed project level analysis is required once a particular management section is selected for treatment.

Is the distress evaluation and PCI calculation automated

DTS provides data collection with Mobile Asset Collection (MAC) vehicles, resulting in images of all assets within the right-of-way. The imagery provides GIS information for all assets along with measurable images of the pavement distresses. This portion of the collection is mainly automated as a collection process. However, each pavement distress is identified, evaluated, and measured by engineering technicians viewing these images. These professionals are trained to provide consistency in the rating, yet an amount of subjectivity remains in the process. Each person will view distresses slightly differently, but the descriptions provided in ASTM-D6433-11 help provide uniformity to the process. Having the raters perform their observations in a controlled environment, versus working in the field along busy roadways, reduces the variances within the process.

Two of Data Transfer Solutions, LLC’s state-of-the-art Mobile Asset Collection (MAC) vans.

We hope this discussion has provided some clarity to the pavement evaluation process and answers questions you may have had. If you have additional questions or would like to engage in more detailed discussions, our engineers are available to visit with you and review your data to provide a better understanding of what pavement data collection can tell you.

For more information on how you can obtain your PCI ratings through expert data collection, contact Scot Gordon, PE – Vice President of Asset Management Services:

Florida on the observing end of Hurricane Harvey

September 6, 2017

Few areas have experienced the devastation of a hurricane more than Florida where DTS is headquartered. Annual hurricane preparations begin in June and many residents remain on high alert until late October, when water temperatures cool and no longer propel storm development. We stock up on bottled water, flashlights, batteries and canned food, keep an eye on the tropics and fill up our gas tanks at any sign of a potential threat. These things are a way of life for many of us, and are not taken for granted.

This August, it wasn’t Florida in the path of destruction. Residents of the Sunshine State watched in horror last week as the Texas coastal bend braced for an impact that was, in many ways, reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With the second largest US population, Texas was not able to organize a mass evacuation and those who chose to remain in their homes were urged to write their name and social security number on their forearm for first responder identification. As we tuned in across the gulf for the weather updates, storm coverage and reports of flooding, we empathized with our western neighbors.

“We had two of our data collection vans in Houston last week that had to be diverted to Arlington to avoid the storm,” said Rafael Rivera, DTS Director of Asset Management Technologies. “We have clients across the country, but a lot of them are in Texas. It’s scary and sad to see them in this situation.”

From our office in Orlando, Data Transfer Solutions employees wanted to help. Our clients, our friends, our co-workers and our families are in Texas. So we decided to do something.

soap saves lives
Rafael Rivera, Director of Asset Management Technologies & Kathy Nelson, Marketing Coordinator

Little bags with a Big Impact

On Thursday, August 31, local humanitarian and environmental group Clean the World delivered essential daily hygiene items to our office, greeted by staff members who were eager to help in some way. These items were assembled by staff into kits that also contained a handwritten message of hope and encouragement from our team.

Clean the World provides these kits globally to those in low-income and impoverished areas, granting a little dignity to those in need. Their kits also minimize the spread of disease. In the wake of Harvey, Clean the World has refocused all of their efforts to assembling and delivering kits to Houston and its surrounding areas. Although it seems like a drop in the bucket, DTS is thrilled to be able to help in some small way.

hygiene kits
Completed Clean the World Hygiene Kits

“We’ve been in their shoes before,” says Cynthia Novoa, CFO at DTS. “It breaks my heart to know these people have lost everything. This is our first time working with Clean the World – we’re hoping to have them back for more events on a regular basis. We are fortunate enough to be on the giving end this time, and we just want to help.”

Clean the World rep Marcus Thomas arrived at our office with the supplies around 8:30 am and DTS staff jumped right in to help set up the assembly stations. While preparing the conference room for volunteer kit builders, Marcus explained the company history and how Clean the World came to exist fewer than 10 years ago.

Partnering with domestic hotel chains, the organization collects discarded soaps, shampoos and conditioners. Soaps are melted down, sanitized and reformed into new 3-ounce bars. Shampoo and conditioner bottles are sanitized and refilled. A new toothbrush, toothpaste, razor and washcloth rounded out each hygiene kit going to Houston.

These efforts have a global impact on our environment and the millions of wasted products that would otherwise be discarded in landfills here in the US. Far beyond that, these kits are distributed worldwide to impoverished areas, homeless shelters and victims of natural disasters. Once all of the kits were complete, they were taken directly to the airport and loaded onto a plane bound for Houston.

This week Florida finds itself, once again, in the path of a major hurricane as Category 5 Irma barrels toward our coastline. Storm preparations are already well underway as we brace for potential impact over the weekend. All we can hope is that our volunteer efforts to help Houston have brought a level of awareness to our own state to be safe and prepared. Clean the World will continue their assistance to Texas, until the organization is needed elsewhere.

If you would like to donate, volunteer or learn more about Clean the World, please visit:
Data Transfer Solutions, LLC headquarters office is located in Avalon Park (Orlando, Florida). Services range from right-of-way data collection and pavement analysis to our enterprise asset management software solution, VUEWorks®, which manages and maintains the full lifecycle of any asset or inventory. DTS strives to give back to the community and do our part to help the environment.

If you would like more information about DTS and VUEWorks, please contact:
Kathy Nelson, Marketing Coordinator:

assembling kits
DTS Staff and management assemble hygiene kits for Hurricane Harvey survivors



June 12, 2017

Get Connected!

We greatly look forward to having you all join us for the day to discuss VUEWorks Asset Management Software!

August 11th, 2017

Register Here  


Morning Session

8:30 – 9:00 AM: Sign-in and Meet and Greet/Introductions
9:00 – 10:00 AM: VUEWorks Features and Enhancements, MobileVUE, presented by Lisa Schoenfelder
10:15 – 10:45 AM: Break
10:45 – noon: Esri Presentation – Technical workshop to better enhance your VUEWorks user experience!


12:00 – noon: Catered lunch with discussion project management and change management

Afternoon Session

1:00 – 2:00 PM: ITRCC Case Study (Process, Deployment, Lessons Learned)
2:15 – 2:45 PM: Work Order Configuration Tips
2:45 – 3:15 PM: Advanced Reporting Configuration Tips
3:30 – 4:00 PM: Open Discussion
4:00 PM: Closing


Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation
Statewide Traffic Operations Center
433 W St. Paul Ave., Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53203


Hampton Inn & Suites
176 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Take me out to the Ballgame!


Join us Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 7:10 pm for a pre-conference social event at the Miller Park Dew Deck to watch the Milwaukee Brewers take on the Minnesota Twins.

*Conference attendance is required to participate in this exclusive social event.
You will receive your Eventbrite RSVP link once registered for the conference!

Register Here  

DTS Supporting Intelligent Asset Management

June 1, 2017

business intelligence

Business intelligence is a hot topic these days and, understandably, those in the transportation sector are clamoring to get a piece of that action; insights into their infrastructure/assets and management practices, return on investments and as a tool to make better decisions across their enterprise.

At DTS, we focus on intelligent asset management. Therefore, it makes sense that we are helping our DOT clients integrate their assets and GIS data with these business intelligence tools.

Business intelligence or “BI” is not new. Tableau® has been on the scene crushing it for well over a decade. Others, like Microsoft and Esri, are or are attempting to make inroads into this line of business. Here is a brief look at Microsoft’s Power BI. I encourage you to check it out as well as Esri’s Insights for ArcGIS. This is a space DTS has and will continue to play in!

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a relative newcomer to the business analytics services arena. It offers a free desktop interface for the beleaguered data analyst tasked with creating sharp looking hard-copy reports that tell stories. Microsoft also offers cloud-based services (SaaS) for self-service analytics (free) and sharing (paid).

In addition, it has recently announced the Power BI Premium service, a capacity-based licensing model, which offers organizations the ability to manage their reports with on-premise Power BI Report Server. Microsoft has made it easy to run with an Azure cloud infrastructure (Azure Active Directory, Azure SQL Database, etc.) or leverage on-premises resources such as Active Directory, SQL Server, etc.

With Power BI service and Power BI Premium, developers can embed dashboards and reports in desktop and web applications. This functionality allows organizations to provide access to big data and powerful analytical tools in custom applications.

Power BI does support limited mapping functionality out-of-box with their familiar Bing map visualization component. It supports rendering points based on coordinates or geocoded addresses, and polygons based on common boundaries derived from geocoded location columns such as zip code, city, county and state values. Power BI currently does not support rendering linear data. They do offer an R component that has some mapping capabilities however.

For customers with geospatial data, the glaring lack of support for mapping features using native geometry from the underlying RDBMS is stark. So how is a DOT to represent their assets that include points, lines and polygons? Through custom components. Microsoft has made Power BI extensible meaning developers can create and share components.

ArcGIS Maps For Power BI

If your organization lacks a development team but is using ArcGIS Enterprise, then perhaps Insights for ArcGIS is worth looking into.

Esri has released ArcGIS Maps for Power BI free. While the data available for rendering has the same limitations as the default Bing map (coordinates or geocoded locations), it does offer a much richer visualization experience for the end user.

Supplemental reference layers may be included from AGOL or ArcGIS Server. Designers will appreciate multiple basemap options to choose from and map themes that include heat map and cluster renderers among others. The component also offers several feature selection options:

  • Point and click for individual features. This is similar to what is available in the default Bing map
  • Drawing a rectangle to select features contained
  • Using polygon features from reference layers to select features contained

Overall, Esri has done a very nice job with this component. It is well worth checking out.

DTS is Rollin’ in to San Antonio next month!

May 31, 2017

DTS, makers of VUEWorks is Rollin’ in to San Antonio in June for the TPWA Annual Conference:
Stop by Booth # 319 to say “Hello”!

Scot Gordon, P.E. has over 25 years of extensive expertise in engineering and design in the pavement field.

Through experience, he understands the challenges of paving and how expansive soil impacts a solid design. Identifying these challenges and the various methods of overcoming them will be the focus of Scot’s presentation.

Don’t miss your chance to get the “dirty details” of Pavement Distress & Repair:
Friday, June 16th at 2:00pm

Check out more details on the events here:

2017 TPWA Annual Conference  


Texas APWA
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
900 E Market Street
San Antonio, TX 78205

Scot Gordon