Pioneer Valley
Planning Commission

Pioneer Valley Transportation Authority Bus
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Pavement Management System (PMS) Program

What is the Pavement Management System (PMS)?

PMS is a systematic process of collecting and analyzing pavement data so that cost-effective strategies can be selected to provide and maintain pavements in a serviceable condition.

What is the purpose of PMS?

PVPC's PMS program aims to provide the region's 43 communities with the knowledge and ability to effectively administer available roadway improvement funds. PMS allows pavement conditions to be categorized by level of performance, so that a community can allocate resources accordingly. Salvageable roadway segments can be stabilized with cost-effective repairs before attention is turned to more seriously deteriorated segments that may require reconstruction or major rehabilitation.

How is PMS conducted?

PVPC uses "Road Manager," a prepackaged PMS software program that can be customized to apply pavement management techniques to each municipality's specific roadway needs and priorities. A documented guideline of project priority, cost, and scheduling is produced in a systematic and coordinated manner for every participating community. PVPC assesses present pavement conditions and forecasts them annually based on historically derived roadway deterioration curves. Through the application of improvement funds, various budget scenarios can be compared to identify the condition levels associated with improving, stabilizing, or deteriorating roadway condition performance. Continuing cooperative efforts among a given community, PVPC, and the Massachusetts Highway Department are vital to ensure that data and forecasts are periodically updated and that maintenance and improvement decisions are based on accurate information.

What are the types of pavement distress?

PVPC staff in the field survey nine pavement distresses, which are identified by severity and extent. Click on the links to view photographs of each distress type.

  1. Potholes - (view image of a pothole) Bowl-shaped depressions in which pavement material has been broken up and removed. Possible causes: Traffic loads over weakened spots in surface pavement or in underlying material.
  2. Allligator Cracking - (view image of alligator cracking) Interconnected crack patterns resembling alligator skin or chicken wire. Pavement pieces with sides ranging in size from one to six inches. Possible causes: Usually an unstable base, resulting in excessive deflection when loads are applied. Typically found in wheel paths. Frequently accompanies rutting.
  3. Distortion - (view image of distortion) Localized surface defects having elevations lower or higher than surrounding pavement. Possible causes: Weak base. Freezing water makes base expand, squeezing pavement upwards, and creating a void underneath, resulting in a bowl-shaped depression in the pavement.
  4. Rutting - (view image of rutting) Depression in the wheel path of traveling vehicles. Possible causes: Pavement base inadequate for maintaining traffic loads and/or the wearing away of surface material resulting from tire friction.
  5. Block Cracking and Weathering - (view image of block cracking and weathering): Pavement surface is divided into rectangular pieces with sides longer than one foot. Possible causes: Shrinkage of asphalt, causing rectangular cracks.
  6. Transverse Cracking (view image of transverse cracking) and Longitudinal Cracking - (view image of longitudinal cracking) Longitudinal cracks running parallel to roadway centerline with transverse cracks running perpendicular to centerline. Possible causes: May result from expansion and contraction of pavement material, roadbed settlement, poorly constructed paving joints, or presence of cracks under surface.
  7. Bleeding - (view image of bleeding) Free asphalt binder on the pavement surface. Bleeding asphalt has a shiny, glass-like surface that may become sticky in hot weather. Possible causes: Excessive amounts of bituminous in mixture and/or low air void content.
  8. Surface Wear/Raveling - (view image of surface wear and raveling) Surface is wearing away from dislodging of aggregate particles (raveling), or traffic has abraded surface over a period of time (surface wear). Possible causes: Insufficient binder, poor gradation, topsize aggregate too large for layer thickness, poor compaction.
  9. Corrugations, Shoving, Slippage - (view image of corrugations, shoving and slippage) Plastic movement typified by ripples across surface (corrugations), bumps formed on downstream side of traffic tire forces (shoving), and crescent- or half-moon- shaped cracks usually occurring at braking or turning locations (slippage). Possible causes: Surface course too soft or too weakly bonded with base to resist horizontal pressure of traffic moving across it, resulting in horizontal movements of pavement material, creating ridges and valleys. Unstable roadbed or subgrade. Frost heaves. Patching that is starting to deteriorate.

What does PVPC provide to a participating community?

  1. PVPC will commit sufficient staff time to undertake the pavement condition process in a timely fashion (a general rule of thumb for estimating this effort is 25 miles of inventory per week). PVPC ensures that no more than two staff persons will be assigned to this task, that only those who have been adequately trained will perform data collection, and that data will be collected as instructed.
  2. PVPC will train the community’s Department of Public Works staff in workshop settings and in the field. PVPC staff will explain the purpose of pavement management, present visual examples of various pavement distresses and defects, and show how the inventory data on pavement condition should be collected and recorded. PVPC will demonstrate data collection procedures to the community’s designated crew and will assist these personnel in the field to assure that they understand how data should be collected and recorded as well as the importance of clarity and consistency. PVPC will be available for technical assistance both by phone and in the field.
  3. PVPC will enter all data into the computer and process it. PVPC will request specific information from the community, using defaults for unavailable information. Required information will include the estimated community roadway improvement annual budget, community roadway repair activities, and estimated repair costs by activity.
  4. PVPC will produce a draft version of the report for local review and comment. When all comments have been addressed, the community will receive five copies of the final report, which will include set-up parameters, pavement condition ratings for each road segment, budget and road condition repair strategies, a work plan for all inventoried streets by year and benefit/cost ratio, and conclusions and recommendations.
  5. PVPC will be available, on request, to conduct at least one presentation for the community to summarize the findings of the final report and answer any questions.
  6. PVPC will provide continuing assistance in maintenance and operation of the pavement management system as conducted by the community.

If you have any questions about what the PMS program can do for your community, please e-mail Amir Kouzehkanani or call (413) 781-6045.

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