Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Reginald R. Souleyrette


The United States Road Assessment Program (usRAP) was designed to rate highways for their ability to protect road users and to make recommendations to engineers and policy makers for investments to enhance road safety. The program is heavily dependent on local road data or characteristics. Pre-populating usRAP requires coders to evaluate sixty-six attributes at 100-meter intervals along a subject highway. In this thesis, methods for obtaining and assuring the quality of some of the usRAP data elements are proposed. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Highway Information System (HIS) data are used as “ground truth” for roadway grade and curvature. Methods of using light detection and ranging (LiDAR) are explored to either establish or assure the quality of data for roadside severities including cliffs, aggressive vertical faces, upward slopes (15-75 degrees), deep drainage ditches, downward slopes (>-15 degrees), and upward slopes (>=75 degrees) by developing digital cross sections. Methods to use LiDAR to determine roadway grade, curvature, and roadside slope are also explored. These methods are evaluated for feasibility using standard surveying and GIS software. Results indicate that roadway grade and curvature are difficult to estimate using only imagery and LiDAR may be used to measure grade and cross slope only if resolution is adequate. Other methods are proposed for future research and application.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)