Timely monitoring of pavement sub-surface layer thickness and condition evaluation is essential to ensure stable pavement performance and safety under heavy traffic loading. In addition, accurate estimation of pavement layer thicknesses is required for condition evaluation, overlay design/ quality control assurance, and structural capacity evaluation of existing pavements to predict its remaining service life. Traditionally this vital information is ascertained through coring/drilling and visual inspections. In contrast to these current techniques, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a non-destructive technique gaining popularity in pavement asphalt layer thickness estimation and structural condition monitoring. Its high-quality data contains vital pavement condition information, and survey costs are reasonably economic. In this work, GPR data were acquired along a toll road in Queensland, Australia, using the GSSI 4-channel SIR30 GPR unit. Asphalt layer thickness information is considered an important input parameter for condition assessment, pavement performance, and lifetime modelling. This work presents an automated segmentation framework to evaluate pavement conditions for a large pavement network. The developed algorithm uses GPR asphalt thickness data as input and generates segments with decision boundaries utilising a cascaded k-means and DBSCAN approach that works in two steps: 1) centroid initialisation using k-means algorithm, 2) clustering using DBSCAN algorithm. Presented in this paper is the workflow of the cascaded method that is applicable to automated analysis of GPR asphalt thickness data. The performance of the cascaded k-means and DBSCAN algorithm was evaluated in terms of entropy compared with traditional k-means and traditional DBSCAN algorithms. The results show that the proposed method outperforms its constituents. Based on the results of this study, the method presented in this paper is cost-effective, economical and robust for segmenting large pavement network with GPR data.

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