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Tech encourages pro-active pavement maintenance.


(excerpted from “How Pittsburgh is test driving tech to make your commute smarter.” Sept 6, 2017, Jeffrey Brown reporting)

Another problem for drivers and the city, potholes and decaying streets. And there’s a project under way here to deal with that. Pittsburgh has more than 800 miles of roads and, like most cities, a limited budget to maintain them. Professor Christoph Mertz has devised software that could help the city better determine where to send repair crews. JEFFREY BROWN: So, the idea is pretty simple, right, use the camera that we all carry around? CHRISTOPH MERTZ, Carnegie Mellon University: Right. I mean, it’s just a smartphone. JEFFREY BROWN: The phone, which can be mounted on the windshield of any vehicle, records video of the road. Then comes the technological wizardry. Mertz developed software that quickly analyzes the footage, and is capable of distinguishing between small cracks and bigger problems. CHRISTOPH MERTZ: (With Artificial intelligence) our program will recognize roads. JEFFREY BROWN: The program also provides simple-to-use color-coded mapping. So, if I’m a city civil engineer or city manager, how do I use this? CHRISTOPH MERTZ: You could say, here’s the red, so I’m going to do all the red stuff, OK, but here, this is the main road. Even if it’s just yellow, I want to — I need to fix that, because there’s much more traffic and it’s more important.

JEFFREY BROWN: Mertz and Carnegie Mellon have just launched a private spinoff company called RoadBotics to sell the technology to local governments. The nearby town of North Huntingdon was first to sign on. One idea is to mount cameras on garbage trucks, which travel every city street once a week.

CHRISTOPH MERTZ: The idea here is, if it’s so inexpensive, you can do it all the time. And so you can address the problems right away — before it’s a big pothole. So, it’s like for every dollar spent in preventative maintenance, you save $10 in reconstructive maintenance. So, that’s a huge savings.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jeffrey Brown in Pittsburgh. ----------------------- Because Preventative Maintenance is KEY — and time and time again Asphalt Preservation with GSB-88® doubles pavement life and works best on Good Condition pavements — actually halting the typical deterioration cycle. We have pavements that have been on a steady diet of GSB-88® for 44+ and counting! Contact us today for a free consultation and let us show you how to efficiently manage the health of your pavements AND save money!

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