Computer on Wheels Determines Road Conditions in Arlington

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A $9,000 computer on wheels costs about $3,000 a day to rent, assesses road conditions. (Published Thursday, Aug 1, 2013)

    The city of Arlington is deploying a $900,000 super computer on wheels to assess the condition of its streets.

    The city is contracting with a company that uses a van equipped with computers, scanners, lasers, cameras, 3-D imaging and GPS coordination.

    “You can see the road down to like two and a half centimeters," said Joe Sebright, a software technician who operates the van. "It can go down, it can tell if it's asphalt and switches to concrete, it can see the paint and everything."

    In the process, it assesses the condition of the city's streets - more than 10 percent of which need serious work, according to the public works department.

    “We look cracks, ruts, slopes on different roads where the road has been worn down,” added Sebright.

    The van determines the road conditions, provides the city with the data and then the city determines how to fix the roads.

    “Rebuilds are more expensive than street maintenance. so we want to get to a street before it's in the rebuild stage so we can maintain that street rather than rebuild it,” said Sue Berger with the city of Arlington.

    Berger said the new technology beats the old way of analyzing roads: the eye test.
    “This is a much more statistical way to look at things,” she said.