December 3, 2022

A new high-tech vehicle is scanning Carmel’s roads to detect potholes and a need for road repairs before the problem even starts.

INDIANAPOLIS — Potholes can cause a lot of damage to vehicles and lots of headaches if you have to replace a tire or a rim, but road crews are trying to stay ahead of the problem, including the city of Carmel. 

Carmel city leaders contracted with a company called Street Scan. The company provides a vehicle with sensors to help detect potholes and other poor road conditions before they occur.

“This vehicle is going to take video, very precise video, along every street,” said City Council member-at-large, Jeff Worrell.

Worrell said this technology can help where the eyes can’t.

“We use our snow plow drivers, who drive the same route every winter. They would go out in the spring and the fall and rate the roads,” said Worrell.

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Worrell said the city uses a PASER system, or Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating, to evaluate the condition of road segments.

The PASER system rates each segment on a scale of 1-10 with one being the worst condition, and 10 being the best.  

“This car, this scan will actually help us spot problems from the underside a little bit sooner so that, maybe, we won’t let something get to a three,” said Worrell.  

The car isn’t automated. Its driver can log hundreds of miles a day while the vehicle’s computer does its job.

City leaders have access to a program called Street Logix. This allows municipalities to budget and plan for maintenance work.

The website shows an example of a color-coded map of a city and offers recommendations for certain types of road repairs based on data collected.

“If we can utilize this to find some defect in a road that we can take care of sooner, that maybe the eye can’t see, or was not obvious, or didn’t fall into the rating system, that’s where we’re really going to take this to the next level,” said Worrell.

The vehicle has completed one full scan of Carmel. That’s more than 500 miles.

City leaders said they have a four-year contract with Street Scan at $68,000 a year.  

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