Historical Performance Evaluation of Iowa Pavement Treatments Using Data Analytics

Project status


Start date: 07/01/14
End date: 09/30/16


Principal investigator:

Co-principal investigators:

About the research

The pavement network in Iowa has reached a mature state making maintenance and rehabilitation activities more important than new construction. As such, a need exists to evaluate the performance of the pavement treatments and estimate their performance lives to support future maintenance and rehabilitation decisions. This evaluation can be achieved by examining the pavement condition data before and after any treatment method was applied.

However, the pavement condition data for Iowa roads stored in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) geographic information system (GIS) were not compatible with the preservation and rehabilitation project data available from the Iowa DOT Office of Contracts. Therefore, this study used GIS tools and methods, such as the Iowa DOT’s linear referencing system (LRS) and geoprocessing tools, to spatially integrate the two databases and examine the pavement conditions before and after the application of pavement treatments.

Afterward, data analytics were conducted to evaluate the actual pavement performance information and estimate the service life of each treatment method using different performance indicators. Moreover, pavement performance analysis developed at the distress-level scale found that most of the analyzed segments had irregular patterns in terms of longitudinal cracks, transverse cracks, alligator cracks, and longitudinal cracks on the wheelpaths. On the other hand, the researchers found that rutting and the International Roughness Index (IRI) were the most consistent pavement performance indicators. As such, these two indicators were used to estimate the average service lives of the rehabilitation treatments.

Based on the analysis conducted, hot-mix asphalt (HMA) resurfacing, HMA resurfacing with milling, and HMA resurfacing with cold in-place recycling (CIPR) have longer service lives when the IRI was used as a performance indicator. In addition, HMA resurfacing with CIPR outperformed HMA resurfacing with or without milling when traffic loadings were low.


Report: Historical Performance Evaluation of Iowa Pavement Treatments Using Data Analytics (2.04 mb pdf) January 2017

Tech transfer summary: Historical Performance Evaluation of Iowa Pavement Treatments Using Data Analytics (175.18 kb pdf) Jan 2017



  • Federal Highway Administration State Planning and Research Funding
  • Iowa Department of Transportation
  • Iowa Highway Research Board
  • Midwest Transportation Center