InTrans / Mar 20, 2024

Smartphone app aids agencies in collecting road data

CyRoads smartphone app

Smartphones have replaced several items we previously used in our daily lives as their technologies have improved, with the addition of various internal components such as Global Positioning Systems and sensors. Those internal advances also offer the potential for use in collecting and analyzing road performance data.

While a few such smartphone-based applications (apps) exist for that purpose, none have been tailored to meet the needs of Iowa county engineers. Until now.

Halil Ceylan, director of the Program for Sustainable Pavement Engineering and Research (PROSPER), and his research teams have spent the past few years developing tools that help local agencies perform pavement analysis of their roadways. Most recently that work has resulted in the CyRoads app.

“The insights and recommendations resulting from this research are expected to pave the way for enhanced measurement precision and efficiency, a broader scope of applications, and seamless alignment with extant pavement management information systems,” Ceylan said. “These improvements can further enable Iowa’s local agencies to adeptly collect data on road conditions and refine their maintenance and rehabilitation strategies.”

In addition to the CyRoads app, which is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms, the recently completed research project also developed a Raspberry Pi-driven smart box system that is a more cost-effective alternative than a smartphone. An appendix in the research report includes details on how to access and utilize the app and the smart box.

“The CyRoads app and smart box allow roadway roughness conditions to be surveyed more frequently and cost-effectively, helping Iowa’s local agencies promptly identify problematic road segments and make informed maintenance decisions,” Ceylan said.

He added, “The state-of-the-art Python-based algorithm developed in this study for interpreting IRI data offers invaluable insights that can equip Iowa’s local agencies with a deeper comprehension of roadway roughness conditions.”

Ceylan, with another research team, previously developed the Iowa Pavement Analysis Techniques (IPAT), an Excel-based automation tool that Iowa county engineers can use to estimate the project- and network-level pavement performance and remaining service life.

Another of Ceylan’s teams developed the Pavement Structural Analysis Tool (PSAT), a Microsoft Excel, macro, and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)-based automation tool that local agencies can use to estimate the structural capacities of in-service pavements for three different pavement types. It also analyzes up to 10 pavement layers by using the equivalent layer theory, where multilayered pavement systems are converted into three-layered systems

For more information about the CyRoads app development research and to access the research report, visit the project page.