Road surface monitoring is a key factor in providing safe road infrastructure for road users. As a result, road surface condition monitoring aims to detect road surface anomalies such potholes, cracks and bumps, which affect driving comfort and on-road safety. Road surface anomaly detection is a widely studied problem. Recently, smartphone-based sensing has become popular with the increased amount of available embedded smartphone sensors. Using smartphones to detect road surface anomalies could change the way government agencies monitor and plan for road rehabilitation and maintenance.
Several studies have been developed to utilize smartphone sensors (e.g., Global Positioning system (GPS) and accelerometers) mounted on a moving vehicle to collect and process the data to monitor and tag roadway surface defects. Geotagged images or videos from the roadways have also been used to detect the road surface anomalies. However, existing studies are limited to identifying roadway anomalies mainly from a single source or lack the utility of combined and integrated multi-sensors in terms of accuracy and functionality. Therefore, low-cost, more efficient pavement evaluation technologies and a centralized information system are necessary to provide the most up-to-date information about the road status due to the dynamic changes on the road surface This information will assist transportation authorities to monitor and enhance the road surface condition.
In this research, a probabilistic-based crowdsourcing technique is developed to detect road surface anomalies from smartphone sensors such as linear accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS to integrate multiple detections accurately. All case studies from the proposed detection approach showed an approximate 80% detection accuracy (from a single survey) which supports the inclusiveness of the detection approach. In addition, the results of the proposed probabilistic-based integration approach indicated that the detection accuracy can be further improved by 5 to 20% with multiple detections conducted by the same vehicle along the same road segments. Finally, the development of the web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) platform would facilitate the real-time and active monitoring of road surface anomalies and offer further improvement of road surface quality control in large cities like Toronto.