How to Implement a Pavement Preservation Program

Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 by
In Project Strategies, Roadway, tagged in Tags:
pavement preservation program

Creating a pavement preservation program can help cities extend the life of their streets. However, categorizing and tracking every road takes time and strategy.

Start by analyzing your city’s pavement to identify problem areas. This can be done by visiting individual sites and making assessments or by working with an outside vendor to gather the data. Some automate this process by using vehicles equipped with sensors that can “read” the integrity of the pavement and map imperfections in the driving surface.

After collecting the data, the next step is compiling it. Each road is assigned a number on the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) that ranges between 0 and 100. A higher PCI means the street is in better condition with fewer imperfections. In many cases, it does not make sense to spend money on pavement with a low PCI, as it needs more extensive work than your preservation budget will allow. However, there is a sweet spot when it comes to a rating. Typically, it falls between 60 and 90. Pavement in this range is prime for preservation dollars and allows you to get the most for your money by keeping good roads in shape.

Some communities manage their maintenance plans in a spreadsheet, while others use programs, like Lucity or another GIS database. This allows cities to compare road quality and make assumptions as to how pavement quality will degrade over time. If it falls within the desired range, the next step is determining which preservation method would be the most effective.

To have the greatest impact, it’s important to develop an extended pavement management plan. This plan identifies roadways and which pavement preservation methods will extend the life of the pavement. Doing a variety of treatments on roadways with varying PCI ratings throughout the city will result in a greater improvement in the city’s overall PCI rating

The goal is to preserve pavement before there is evidence it needs to be fixed, which can make getting public buy-in a challenge. Often, communities may not understand the value in improvements when they can’t see a problem. Keeping stakeholders informed can be done in a number of ways. Whether it’s holding a meeting or placing placards on doors, ensuring the community is in the loop is an important key to success.

Data collection shouldn’t stop after the first evaluation is complete. It’s important to continue to examine roads over time to see how they are performing. Making smaller, less expensive fixes upfront helps roadways reach their full lifespan. We recommend creating a 3 to 5-year plan. This way, streets that are missed in the first year can be addressed in the fifth.

To learn more about pavement preservation, contact me at

Share this post: