Machine learning enlisted for council road assessment trial

New technology using video footage and machine learning to automatically assess road conditions is being trialled at a NSW local council.

The technology, which has the potential to deliver superior data whilst also saving time and money, is trialled by the Central Coast Council, in conjunction with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) NSW and ACT Division.

Central Coast Council’s director of roads, transport, drainage and waste, Boris Bolgoff, said the system is designed to be easily mounted to council vehicles – including trucks and vehicles used by inspectors and rangers – which are already driven across the road network regularly.

“Our goal is to deliver thorough, regular and cost-effective assessments of our road network, and this incredible new technology could see standard vehicles equipped to assess our roads,” Mr Bolgoff told Infrastructure Magazine.

“Video and machine learning is the future of road assessments, and indicators suggest that the technology we are trialling could provide a safer and more cost-effective means for monitoring and assessing 2200km of Central Coast roads.”

Central Coast Council administrator Dick Persson said local government had a responsibility to explore and utilise the most effective techniques for maintaining and developing the local road network.

“The Central Coast has an extensive road roadwork and it is exciting to be exploring a technology that offers the potential to provide us with better data in a more cost-effective way,” Mr Persson said.

IPWEA is also working with Canterbury Bankstown, Georges River and Blayney Councils for the trial.

The evaluation of the trial will be released at the IPWEA (NSW) state conference on 23-25 March.