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PASER (Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating System)

What is PASER?

PASER is an acronym for Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating system. It is a system for visually rating the surface condition of a pavement from a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a pavement in a failed condition and 10 being a pavement in excellent condition. Guidelines for rating the pavement surface using the PASER system have been developed by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council. Engineering staff evaluates all local streets within the City each year and publishes a map showing the PASER ratings.
 PASER Ratings Map

Why does the City conduct a pavement survey?

Pavements age with time and gradually deteriorate due to environmental effects and traffic loadings. Resources for maintaining and repairing roads can be efficiently managed so that the money is spent in the right place at the right time by knowing the condition of the pavement network. The City of Novi has recognized the benefits of performing regular pavement condition surveys to evaluate the existing pavement conditions and to allocate maintenance and construction funds. The pavement survey is one aspect of a larger asset management program not only for pavements but for all infrastructure in the City.

What do the PASER ratings actually mean?

Most pavements will deteriorate through various phases as shown. The rate at which pavement deteriorates from an excellent (10) to a very poor condition (1) depends largely on its environment, traffic loading conditions, original construction quality, and interim maintenance procedures. Two pavements constructed at the same time may have significantly different lives, or certain portions of a pavement may deteriorate more rapidly than others, due to material or construction problems.

The PASER rating scale can generally be translated into maintenance categories as shown. The normal maintenance or rehabilitation procedure has been found helpful in relating to the surface rating scheme. However, choosing an individual surface rating should not automatically dictate the final maintenance or rehabilitation technique. Future traffic projections, original construction and pavement strength should be considered since these may dictate a more comprehensive rehabilitation. On the other hand, it may be appropriate under special conditions to do nothing and let the pavement fully deteriorate, then rebuild when funds are available.

Asphalt Streets

PASER Rating Condition Treatment
9 & 10 Excellent No maintenance required
8 Very Good Little or no maintenance
7 Good Crack sealing and minor patching
5 & 6 Fair – Good Preservative treatments (non-structural)
3 & 4 Poor – Fair Structural improvement (overlay)
1 & 2 Failed Reconstruction

Concrete Streets

PASER Rating Condition Treatment
9 & 10 Excellent No maintenance required
7 & 8 Very Good Routine maintenance
5 & 6 Fair – Good Surface repairs, sealing, partial-depth patching
3 & 4 Poor – Fair Extensive slab or joint rehabilitation
1 & 2 Failed Reconstruction

What is the current condition of pavement surface in Novi?

Of the 182.1 miles of city controlled streets, 44% of the roads have a PASER rating of 6 or higher (i.e., pavement condition is rated as good or better). 

A comparison to previous years’ data shows that the city’s overall average PASER ratings have been decreasing, however additional funds have been budgeted from the 2012 road millage to make additional improvements with the goal of increasing the average PASER rating.

Year Average PASER Rating % Centerline Miles with
PASER of 6 or Better
2001 6.6 74%
2004 6.9 81%
2008 6.6 76%
2010 6.4 72%
2011 6.3 61%
2012 6.0 51%
2013 5.9 44%

 PASER Ratings Map

The graph below summarizes the overall condition of Novi’s streets.

Graph showing Summary of Road Condition by Year for 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2011

What is Novi doing to improve the condition of City streets?

The City’s Asset Management approach for pavements was established in 2009 and is summarized in the figure and tables below which illustrates that there are appropriate fixes for the various pavement ratings. Routine maintenance, such as crack sealing, should occur when the road is in good condition (PASER 7-10). Preventative maintenance, such as non-structural overlays and joint repair, should occur when the pavements are in fair to good condition (PASER 4-6). Reconstruction, which is the most costly fix, should be reserved for segments that exhibit a structural failure of the pavement (PASER 1-3).

Chart of Fixes

The table below illustrates the costs associated with street maintenance and construction. Using an asset management approach to street maintenance will provide a mix of treatments to keep the good roads in good condition through maintenance while spending some funds on reconstruction of roads that are failing.

Recommended Asphalt Treatments and Associated Costs

RASER Rating Condition Treatment Estimated Cost per mile
9 & 10 Excellent No maintenance required $0
8 Very Good Little or no maintenance $0
7 Good Crack Sealing and Minor Patching $1,000
5 & 6 Fair-Good Preservative treatments (non-structural) $200,000
3 & 4 Poor – Fair Structural Improvement (overlay) $404,000
1 & 2 Failed Reconstruction $850,000

Recommended Concrete Treatments and Associated Costs

RASER Rating Condition Treatment Estimated Cost per mile
9 & 10 Excellent No maintenance required $0
7 & 8 Very Good Routine maintenance $1,000
5 & 6 Fair-Good Surface repairs, sealing, partial depth patching $225,000
3 & 4 Poor – Fair Extensive slab or joint rehabilitation $400,000
1 & 2 Failed Reconstruction $1,000,000
       

As we continue to use this proactive approach, we will look for opportunities to optimize the available road funds provided for neighborhood roads by performing routine and preventative maintenance in addition to reconstruction. However, recognizing that the overall condition of the road network had started to decline, Engineering staff began working with the consultant, Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment, in December 2011 to review the current pavement management program, the funding level for pavement maintenance, and the way the funding is allocated. The study analyzed several funding scenarios to model and predict the average PASER rating (including the current funding level of $3.2 million). The study allowed the consultant and staff to review current practices and look for more efficient ways to allocate the existing funding as part of an overall pavement management program that implements consistent, deliberate and planned maintenance of the system.
 Road Asset Management & Funding Analysis Report

The study concludes that at the current funding level, the average PASER rating for the system is expected to continue to decline as shown in the graph below. However, additional funding for pavement maintenance would work to improve the overall system. The graph also shows that if increased funding were to be spend only on reconstruction (RC) that the overall condition of the system would decrease.

Chart showing Projected Paser Rating At Various Funding Levels

For More Information

For further information about this year’s project please contact George Melistas, Engineering Senior Manager, Department of Public Services at 248-347-0454.