The objective was to investigate whether laser light depolarization can serve as a unique descriptor of pavement textural charcteristics. Measurements were made on 20 pavement samples. Test results were compared with skid numbers, British Pendulum Numbers, and data obtained by three other texture measurement methods. Additional tests were conducted to study the dependence of light depolarization on fine and coarse texture, color, and material properties. The effects of simulated vehicle dynamics on the detected signal characteristics were also investigated.
The test results show that light depolarization responds effectively to different surface characteristics and compares well with both textural and frictional data. A rank correlation was performed among the different data sets. Correlation between coarse texture and friction was found to be weak, as expected, since texture is only one of many factors affecting friction. Depolarization data on the other hand correlated comparatively well with all three sets of coarse texture data and also with the frictional data. The influence of simulated vehicle bounce on test results was found to be negligible.