Analysis and Prediction of Pothole Formation Rate Using Spatial Density Measurements and Pavement Condition Indicators


Potholes represent one of the dangerous distress types on roads. They form as a result of various factors, including water ingress, freeze–thaw, and pavement condition deterioration. In the UK, 1.7 million potholes were repaired in 2021; this critical number causes significant economic, social, and environmental impacts; there is no tool able to predict the number of potholes that might appear in a road network. This study aims to analyze pothole formation and its relationship with other distress types and their severity, and to develop a simple tool able to predict the number of potholes that might appear in a road network based on the network condition. Significant pothole data from the road network of Greater London between 2017 and 2020, in addition to surface distress data, were used in this study. ‘Spatial density’ and ‘join’ tools embedded in ArcGIS were used to correlate pothole spatial density (PSD) with the road condition surrounding the potholes. This analysis was then used to calculate PSD as a function of different condition indicators, such as road condition index and crack intensity, allowing prediction of the number of potholes based on the length and condition of the sections being analyzed. The results demonstrate that potholes are significantly concentrated in sections with deteriorated conditions. They also show that it is possible to predict the number of potholes using PSD with reasonable accuracy. Lastly, it was found that sections with low crossfall are more susceptible to pothole formation, presumably because of water ponding and consequent damage.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Civil Engineering
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright © National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Uncontrolled Keywords: pavement condition,pavement distress,pothole spatial density,potholes,spatial analysis,Mechanical Engineering,Civil and Structural Engineering
Publication ISSN: 2169-4052
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2024 08:20
Date Deposited: 15 May 2023 09:57
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Related URLs: https://journal ... 611981231166684 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-11
Published Online Date: 2023-05-04
Accepted Date: 2023-05-01
Authors: Abed, Ahmed
Rahman, Mujib (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-5177-4159)
Thom, Nick
Hargreaves, David
Li, Linglin
Airey, Gordon



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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