Every year road raters go out and take visual ratings of the surface condition of the roadways, this is called PASER ratings or Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating. Michigan uses PASER to assign roads a rating from "1" (failed road) to "10" (new road/complete reconstruction). The PASER system is designed to evaluate the types of improvements that would be required bring the roadway back to good condition. The inspection requires only a brief visual inspection, which can be taken from a moving vehicle. Raters are required to update their training every year they rate roadways.
This system of road ratings is coordinated by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC), which is made up of representatives from county road commissions, cities, a county commissioner, township official, regional and metropolitan planning organizations, and the state transportation department. The TAMC is the statewide clearinghouse for independent, objective data on the condition of Michigan's roads and bridges and a resource for implementing the concepts of Asset Management.
The TAMC has developed interactive maps and data dashboards on the conditions of the roadways across Michigan. If you have ever wondered what the ratings are for your community, you can look them up here. Only Act 51 agencies are reported on the TAMC data dashboard, but WATS has a wonderful website that looks at all communities in Washtenaw County, find how the roads are doing in your community here.
Since 2003, WATS, the Washtenaw County Road Commission, and MDOT have worked to evaluate and rate roadways in Washtenaw County for the state required Asset Management Program. This program is intended to provide a brief snapshot of the condition of all of Michigan's federal aid roadways.
The program requires each county to take a full inventory of their roadways every 2 years, most communities rate half of their ratings each year. WATS most recently rated Washtenaw County's roadways in July 2014 (fiscal year 2014) and October 2014 (fiscal year 2015). The next set of PASER ratings will be taken in Summer 2016 and Fall 2016.
Transportation agencies around the country will need to place additional emphasis on the surface condition of roadways not that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has rules that States must adhere to and outlines potential consequences for those roadways that fall under the target.
The proposed minimum level for condition of pavement outlines that States will need to maintain no more than 5% of lane miles of their pavements on the Interstate System in Poor condition. States not meeting this requirement for two consecutive years will be subject to penalties including obligating (securing) NHPP funds and transferring Surface Transportation Program funds. If you want more details about the measures being used at the State level contact Ryan Buck firstname.lastname@example.org.