Closed-Request for Ideas – Innovative Technology to Measure Paving Condition

The Philadelphia Streets Department is interested in receiving ideas for implementing innovative, cost efficient technology for measuring the pavement condition of its roadways.


The Philadelphia Streets Department strategically works to allocate limited resources in the most cost efficient manner possible.  Therefore, it is important that we develop the most effective methods to make data-driven decisions when it comes to investing in the paving of our streets.  As such, we are interested in receiving information about research and technologies that can be incorporated and replicated into current Streets Department workflows to more comprehensively understand the current pavement condition of our streets.


The Streets Department employs a Pavement Asset Management System which requires 500 miles of streets to be annually inspected.  Currently, these are visual inspections conducted by Streets Department employees. Due to this investment of man hours, the Streets Department wants to learn more about current research and technology services that may allow for more efficient inspections and the development of standards with respect to these technologies.

Ideal technologies which would aid in efficient inspections would be able to identify the following pavement issues required by our Pavement Asset Management System on a street segment level by type of pavement:

Flexible Pavement:

  • alligator cracking
  • patching and utility cuts
  • longitudinal/transverse cracking
  • block cracking
  • weathering/raveling
  • transverse distortions
  • rutting/depressions
  • potholes

Rigid Pavement

  • joint spalling
  • faulting
  • divided slabs
  • corner breaks
  • longitudinal and transverse cracking
  • patching and utility cuts

Other Pavement

  • corrugations
  • potholes
  • rutting
  • improper cross-section
  • roadside drainage
  • loose aggregate

The Streets Department is interested in learning more about current research and technology services which could do both of the following:

  • Provide cost efficient, replicable technology or research, which could aid pavement condition inspections by incorporating into current workflows, requiring minimal proprietary technology acquisitions, and/or propose a different way of approaching these inspections; and
  • Work with the Streets Department to develop standards based on the output of this technology or research to ensure the longevity of our roadways.

Submission Guidelines:  

Please articulate your idea as you see fit; however, your submission must be less than 2,500 words and no more than under 5 pages/slides. How you use the up to 2,500 words and fill up to 5 pages/slides is entirely up to you.

While the Streets Department does not want to prescribe how to go about organizing this project, for some general guidance, a sample submission template could include the following:

  • Technical Project Approach. This section could include descriptions of the approach to the problem, defined performance goals and provisions for performance measurement, use of standards, and provisions for interoperability, replicability, scalability, modularity, and composability.
  • Qualifications of the Vendor/Researcher. A description of the qualifications and proposed operational or management activities of key personnel who you recommend to be assigned to complete the work on the proposed idea.
  • Resource Availability. A description of the facilities, costs, and overall support needed to accomplish the project’s objectives and sustainability.

Response Calendar:

Posting of RFI – 5/2/2016

Submit Responses – 5/6/2016 at 5pm (EST) via email to Ema Yamamoto at

Contact Information:

Please post any questions as a comment below this solicitation on so that additional information will be available for all potential submitters to review. Any questions sent via email will be directed back to the comment section on


7 comments on “Closed-Request for Ideas – Innovative Technology to Measure Paving Condition
  1. Can I submit an idea as an individual? Do I need a registered business entity as a prerequisite for selection?

    • Ema Yamamoto says:

      Good question! This is an RFI not a contract opportunity, so no, you do not need to be registered as a business entity to submit an idea.

      Just as an FYI- In the event that a contract opportunity were to open, individuals (sole proprietors) can apply to opportunities with the City of Philadelphia. If selected and awarded a contract, the individual will have to acquire a Philadelphia Business Tax Account Number (they can apply for this online) with the Department of Revenue and a Commercial Activity License with Licenses and Inspections (they can apply for this online). They do not need these items to apply for a contract opportunity. Further, an individual who does not have a FEIN may use their SSN to both register for an account on eContract Philly and obtain the required business accounts/licenses from the City.

  2. Can you describe the current pavement management process in more detail? Specifically, can you provide more detail to the phrase “visual inspections conducted by Streets Department employees”? What tools do the Streets Department employees currently use during their visual inspections?

    • Ema Yamamoto says:

      The current procedure is for field survey crews to conduct driving surveys consisting of two people (a driver and a rater). The rater identifies the distress types present and provides a predominant severity level of each distress type based upon which severity level is the greatest. The rater has a laptop and enters information during the inspection into an Excel based pavement inspection tool.

      For flexible pavement types, a scale of 100 (no distress) to 0 (failed) is applied to the different distress types. The rating is determined using the PCI method (except for weathering and raveling) developed by the Corps of Engineers and adopted by ASTM. Weathering and raveling scores are determined using a methodology from Georgia Department of Transportation.

      For rigid pavement types, a rating system is applied for each distress based on a scale of 100 (no distress) to 0 (failed). The rating is determined using the PCI method described in ASTM D6433-99.

      For other pavement types, the distresses are rated as Good, Fair, or Poor.

      This information is then fed into our Pavement Asset Management System.

  3. Is it possible to extend the deadline for responses by a week?

  4. Ema Yamamoto says:

    Below are two questions received via email-

    1. Is there a site or could you provide some history of the prior RFI awards? I ask because I’m a little confused about what exactly the 32K in funds would be applied to. Particularly, some of the projects I’ve seen posted would require resources and time that exceed the cap for RFI’s posted on the Big Idea forum. In short, if I submit an RFI and its “accepted” what would be the next steps?

    2. What if my idea does require resources that go above the 32K cap? Are the funds only meant to be used to pay for the time it takes to develop the idea? After submittal does the city now “own” the idea and can they move forward with it as they see fit?

    In response to your question, please note the differences between a RFI & RFP as mentioned below:

    Request for Idea (RFI) opportunities are non-contract opportunities with the City of Philadelphia and thus there is no funding attached to this RFI. The results/responses to this RFI are intended to inform how the Streets Department might move forward with a contract opportunity.

    Once RFIs are submitted they become City intellectual property so any vendor should submit their response at their own discretion. If the City prefers any particular response(s) to the RFI over other responses, the City may, at its sole discretion, use that information as a basis for drafting a new Request For Proposal (RFP) and posting the Notice of Contracting Opportunity on eContract Philly while adhering to all governing laws relative to Chapter 17-1400 of the Philadelphia Code.

    RFPs that are created from a RFI opportunity may or may not be limited to <$32K so this should not be a factor in your response to an RFI unless otherwise noted. If a RFP is above $32K, it will not be posted on BigIdeasPHL.

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