Development of a Pavement Pothole Management System

The condition of California roads is among the worst in the nation and road conditions were rated again as “D” in the 2021 Report Card for American Infrastructure (ASCE, 2021). The Porthole Report by Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) reported that the Bay Area Roads are at Risk (MTC, 2018). Generally, poor pavement conditions lead to more potholes, especially after a rainy season.  Potholes are a big issue for safety, vehicle damage, as well as increased roadway roughness and emission. Big cities, such as LA, have reported that LA struggled to respond to a record number of pothole reports (Carino, 2017). AAA found two-thirds of American drivers are concerned about potholes, and a study from AAA revealed that potholes cost U.S. drivers approximately $3 billion annually (AAA, 2016). Without proper repair, potholes can further damage other parts of the roadway at an accelerated rate (Caltrans, 2008). Potholes are also a recurring issue for many local agencies, especially underfunded communities. Their roadway conditions are poor; therefore, more potholes would be generated, especially during the wet and winter seasons.

There are a few pothole reporting apps available to help local agencies to report and track potholes. For example, the City of Oakland uses an app to report and view roadway problems such as potholes. However, these apps don’t have a function to recommend repair methods and estimate repair costs to the agency and potential vehicle damage. Besides, most of the smaller cities in California don’t have access to any apps. It is urgent to help California to reduce the number of potholes and repair the potholes effectively, therefore improving road smoothness and conditions.

The objectives of this research are to report and track potholes, model pavement maintenance and vehicle costs to due potholes on pavements in California, reduce vehicle damage, and improve pavement condition and safety on the California roadway network.

Principal Investigator: 
DingXin Cheng, Ph.D.
PI Contact Information:

California State University, Chico

January 2023
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

The end users of the research results would be City and Counties in California. They will be provided valuable information to help identify suitable pothole identification and repair strategies. The results would also help local agencies’ pavement management system.

Project Number: 



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