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August 31, 2019 3 min read

Road Surface Monitoring

Cyclists more than ever need to be taken into account when evaluating our roads and monitoring road surface conditions. They are amongst the most vulnerable road users affected by poor infrastructure conditions, with road defects such as potholes posing potentially fatal risks. It is for this reason that cycling is increasingly the focus of transport planners and local authorities, with KPIs in place to monitor and assess the overall safety and effectiveness of cycling networks. Cities are now challenged with finding new ways to maintain the road network, using data to inform agile governance and policy making.

Yet, approaches to obtaining road surface condition data are often limited in their application in relation to the needs of cyclists or other forms of micromobility. Visual inspection techniques are slow and require intensive human intervention, while techniques that utilise advanced measurement equipment (sophisticated profilers) come with high costs and require skilled operators. As a result, most roads are reviewed infrequently (less than annually), compounding the issue and leading to expensive, reactive repairs.

Cycleway Monitoring and Maintenance

To deliver high quality cycle networks in cities it is critical that highway maintenance regimes pay particular regard to cyclists’ needs. It is recommended that inspection frequencies and response levels should be higher on the most important parts of the cycle network, even where these routes are minor as far as motor vehicles are concerned, e.g. quiet lanes or back streets. However, highway surface condition is usually geared to supporting motor vehicle performance thresholds, rather than cycle performance thresholds (Parkin, 2019).

Many cities struggle to maintain inspection frequencies at a rate to support the requirements of the Highways Infrastructure code, and require an efficient and cost-effective way to gather and record data. See.Sense technology offers an approach to measuring the condition of road and cycle path surfaces that is objective, and at the same time, correlates with human perceptions of comfort reported via the app. These insights will enable data driven prioritisation of highway maintenance, allowing the maximum return on investment and cost savings.

See.Sense in Action

See.Sense has been featured in the prestigious International Transport Forum’s Road Safety in Cities: Street Design and Traffic Management Solutions publication for our work on road surface conditions in Dublin. 

Data collected in Dublin as part of the See.Sense Smart Cycling project, facilitated through the EU SynchroniCity initiative, was utilised by engineering firm AECOM to conduct a Quality of Service assessment for Dublin’s cycling network.

AECOM ultimately found that the data provided by the lights is a useful tool for planners to develop cycle networks and also identify maintenance priorities, and that the data can be used to get a better understanding of a cities cycle network in terms of: Pavement Condition; Junction Delay; and Desire Lines.” 

The results of the collaboration were jointly presented at the European Transport Conference 2018. You can read about the project in further detail here

Our road surface insights have also been utilised as part of our project with e-scooter fleet operator Dott in London, which you can read more on here

To find out how See.Sense technology and data services can help with road service quality assessments please email and a member of our team will be in touch.


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