Date of Award

August 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Wayne A Sarasua

Committee Member

William J Davis

Committee Member

Brook T Russell

Committee Member

Jennifer H Ogle


Periodic measurement of pavement surfaces for pavement management system (PMS) data collection is vital for state transportation agencies. Vehicle-based mobile light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems can be used as a versatile tool to collect point data throughout a roadway corridor. The overall goal of this research is to investigate if mobile terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (MTLS) systems can be used as an efficient and effective method to create accurate digital pavement surfaces for. LiDAR data were collected by five MTLS vendors. In particular, the research is interested in three things: 1) how accurate MTLS is for collecting roadway cross slopes; 2) what is the potential for using MTLS digital pavement surfaces to do materials calculations for pavement rehabilitation projects; and 3) examine the benefit of using MTLS to identify pavement rutting locations.

Cross slopes were measured at 23 test stations using traditional surveying methods (conventional leveling served as ground-truth) and compared with adjusted and unadjusted MTLS extracted cross slopes. The results indicate that both adjusted and unadjusted MTLS derived cross slopes meet suggested cross slope accuracies (±0.2%). Application of unadjusted MTLS instead of post-processed MTLS point clouds may decrease/eliminate the cost of a control surveys.

The study also used a novel approach to process the MTLS data in a geographic information system (GIS) environment to create a 3-dimension raster representation of a roadway surface. MTLS data from each vendor was evaluated in terms of the accuracy and precision of their raster surface. The resultant surfaces were compared between vendors and with a raster surface created from a centerline profile and 100-ft. cross-section data obtained using traditional surveying methods. When comparing LiDAR data between compliant MTLS vendors, average raster cell height differences averaged 0.21 inches, indicating LiDAR data has considerable potential for creating accurate pavement material volume estimates.

The application of MTLS data was also evaluated in terms of the accuracy of collected transverse profiles. Transverse profiles captured from MTLS systems have been compared to 2-inch interval field data collection using partial curve mapping (PCM), Frechet distance, area, curve length, and Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) techniques. The results indicated that there is potential for MTLS systems for use in creating an accurate transverse profile for potential identification of pavement rut areas. This research also identified a novel approach for determining pavement rut areas based on the shape of grid cells. This rather simplistic approach is easily implementable on a network wide basis depending on MTLS point cloud availability. The method does not require the calculation/estimation of an ideal surface to determine rut depths/locations.



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