Pavement Management Program Brings Benefits to Complex Campus Network with Better Pavement and Cost Savings

January 07, 2020


Managing more than 15 million square feet of pavement would be a daunting task for any facilities team, but it’s especially complex when 32 campuses and 16 facilities managers are involved. This is the scenario for Terracon client Maricopa County Community Colleges, the largest U.S. community college network. Based in Tempe, Ariz., the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) includes 10 regionally accredited locations serving more than 200,000 students each year.

Photo of high severity alligator cracking (structural related distress)

Photo of high severity alligator cracking (structural related distress


Photo of high severity raveling (climate related distress).

Photo of high severity raveling (climate related distress).

Successful deployment of a long-term pavement management plan has resulted in substantial cost savings and operational efficiencies for the college network. This systematic approach allows for consistent field data collection and processing.

The plan is built upon annual evaluations of pavement condition based on regularly scheduled inspections of sample units at the network level and project level. For each sample unit, the Terracon team determines the type, amount, and severity of pavement distress present. Distress survey information is entered into software to determine Pavement Condition Indices (PCI) and ratings for each pavement.

Based on the PCI, the team prioritizes pavements into four categories that need various levels of maintenance or rehabilitation. The results are then used to develop a rolling five-year budget. As part of Terracon’s services, the team also prepares the plans, specifications, and contract documents recommended in the management plan.



Due to our involvement with the project since 1995, we collected field data to determine PCI for every pavement section owned by the MCCCD, and included annual construction costs. These accumulated values are graphed to show cost savings over time by implementing a pavement program.

With a pavement management program, the average overall PCI is maintained in the mid-70’s range—satisfactory to the client—despite additions of deteriorated pavement from acquisition of new properties. Without a pavement management plan, the average overall PCI declines to the 20-point range, which is considered “serious” according to ASTM standards and would require extensive repairs.

The MCCCD estimates it has saved more than $30 million by maintaining the average overall PCI at an acceptable condition

Though facility managers and property owners may find it challenging to capture the return on investment of a pavement management program, the results can be significant. The MCCCD estimates it has saved more than $30 million by maintaining the average overall PCI at an acceptable condition. If you consider the pavement management implementation expense of $2 million, this means the MCCCD has made a 1,500 percent return on investment by use of Terracon’s program.

Terracon’s experienced team of pavement professionals provides clients with a full range of pavement services. Helping you effectively manage these assets can include evaluation and maintenance, to recommendations for existing pavement rehabilitation and replacement. These geotechnical and materials resources are available to meet all your pavement needs.

Jennifer Tran

Jennifer Tran, P.E., is a senior project manager and office lead in Terracon’s Avondale, Ariz., office with more than 14 years of experience in geotechnical and pavement engineering and design. Her responsibilities include project design and management, client management, and proposal preparation.

Find an office location

More than 175 offices from coast to coast.