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Dangerous roads have become a characteristically American problem. In 2020, during the pandemic, the rate of traffic fatalities rose 5% on the 2017-19 average, making the US one of three ‘rich’ nations – from a list of 32 – that saw an increase.
To impactfully improve road safety, the nation must employ more efficient and effective ways to treat surface conditions across its vast road networks. But right now, maintenance operations and asset management departments face an expensive and manual process to conduct surface inspections and gather insights.
In this webinar, Wejo’s Feda Abidrabbu and Nizam Yusuf joined NIRA Dynamics’ Björn Zachrisson to demonstrate how our collaborative solution – driven by highly granular real-time and historic connected vehicle data – can shift the way you approach road maintenance and safety from a reactive method to a proactive one. Here’s what they discussed…
Of the four million miles of public roadways in the US, wear and tear has left 1 in 10 in poor condition (1 in 5 in urban areas). This is demonstrated using the International Roughness Index (IRI), and is measured by analyzing the quality of pavement surface, deviations and the impact of vehicle suspension movement.
Poor road surfaces lead to more congestion, reduced safety and increased vehicle costs. In fact, recent figures show potholes alone cost drivers $3 billion a year. And as the rate of vehicles on our roads rapidly rises, surfaces are likely to deteriorate even faster. This is particularly true in California, where 44% of all roads – and 14,220 miles of highway – are in poor condition, extending commuter times by 14.6% since 2011.
DOTs, counties, cities and municipalities are tasked with managing and maintaining our road networks, which includes repair planning and post-incident monitoring. This requires infrastructure analysis and investigation, but a heavy reliance on inconsistent community feedback, and highly limited data sets from Laser Crack Measurement System (LCMS) detection trucks, makes it difficult to measure.
Using these methods to analyze, investigate and maintain road surfaces needs manual labor and physical intervention. It’s costly, open to human error, and requires too much time spent identifying needs, instead of taking action. This can result in road maintenance at the end of their life cycle, rather than earlier to increase their lifetime value.
Poor road surfaces and deferred maintenance negatively impact people’s everyday lives with vehicle repair costs, increased travel time and safety concerns. The answer? Sustainable, cost-effective solutions that enable a proactive approach to road deterioration, driven by accuracy and clear visibility.
Road Health from Wejo can help DOTs and local agencies address these pain points directly. Navigating through a live demonstration of the platform, Nizam Yusuf focused on Oakland, where 71.2% of roads are in poor condition.
LCMS data for these roads can only be accessed once or twice a year due to resource constraints. But with Road Health, surface data can be accessed at any time – daily and historically – over a 12-month period or more. This gives users a before, during and after view of maintenance and road deterioration areas to accurately track progress, as demonstrated by Björn Zachrisson later in the webinar, by hovering over areas of interest to view previous and present IRI levels.
The interface also enables instantaneous road class filtering at the click of a button. This means actual road roughness data collected from connected vehicles within the community can be accessed on your terms, at scale and in granular detail. Not tech savvy? The system is designed for non-technical users to understand, with simple color scaling and various graphical views to represent the quality of road surface on multiple parameters.
Plus, you can further heighten visibility of specific roads by selecting Google API/Street view, giving real-world visibility of road segments to examine and correlate with the data, ultimately providing a level of visibility that was almost impossible with previous methods.
Road Health offers a much more effective method to approach the full life cycle of road maintenance, as opposed to relying on public reviews or sporadic laser data. With it, DOTs and others can:
Improve road asset management and plan maintenance work effectively
Reduce accidents and improve safety
Watch the full webinar below for a deeper dive into the potential of Road Health. Plus, see an overview of our second solution powered by NIRA Dynamics – Winter Road Insights – as we work together to help make our roads safer, and our communities more livable.