Collecting accurate rutting data is important to assess network-level pavement conditions and to determine maintenance and rehabilitation needs and funding levels to optimize the use of available economic resources. The technical objective of this study was the assessment of the rut-depth (RD) accuracy and precision of different continuous automated systems (CASs), which represent the state-of-the-art for the automated data collection of rutting and discrete automated systems (DASs), which are still used by several departments of transportation in the United States. The RD values analyzed in this study were obtained by: (1) field measurements at highway speeds using five different optical CASs, and (2) calculation simulating the use of DASs with different configurations. The analysis of the first type of values assessed the closeness of the RD produced by the different CASs to the RD manually measured for this study. The analysis of the second type of values assessed the effects of the number of sensors and the width of measurement on the accuracy and precision of the DASs. In addition, the impact of the RD accuracy and precision on the assessed pavement condition at the network level was analyzed for both the CAS that participated in the experiment and the simulated DAS.
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