Using ProVAL in Smoothness Specifications

What is ProVAL?

ProVAL (Profile Viewing and AnaLysis) is an engineering software application that allows users to view and analyze pavement profiles in many different ways. It is easy to use and yet very powerful for performing very detailed profile analyses. ProVAL is a product developed by the Transtec Group through a contract with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Long Term Pavement Performance Program (LTPP). The maintenance and enhancements of ProVAL is now funded by the Transportation Pooled Fund Study "TPF-5(354) Improving the Quality of Highway Profile Measurement"

What are the advantages of ProVAL?

Current Specifications that use ProVAL

ProVAL can be included in pavement smoothness specifications and test procedures (that require the use of inertial profiling systems) to help ensure that all profiles collected by either owner-agencies or contractors can be imported into ProVAL for analysis, and will generate consistent analysis results.

To specify the use of a software tool in state specifications is a very involved and lengthy process. Even for popular software like ProVAL, it may still take significant efforts for state agencies to adopt ProVAL into their smoothness specifications. To facilitate this process, the FHWA ProVAL team will provide assistance (technical support, training workshops, etc.) to states upon request.

Some examples of how federal and state agencies have already incorporated ProVAL into their smoothness specifications are provided below (Please note that the followings are direct quotes from corresponding smoothness specification document):

AASHTO R57 Standard Practice for Operating Inertial Profilers and Evaluating Pavement Profiles

(page 6) Table 1 - Measuring Pavement Profile for QA Purposes

“Present the profile elevation data to the Owner-Agency in an approved electronic file format. The format must be readable by ProVAL.”

AASHTO R54 Standard Practice for Pavement Ride Quality When Measured Using Inertial Profiling Systems

“Evaluation of Profiles—The Owner-Agency evaluates profiles for acceptance, bonus, penalty, or corrective action.

Note 3—The Profile Viewer and Analysis (ProVAL) software program developed for the Federal Highway Administration, which can be used to import, display, and analyze the characteristics of pavement profiles from many different sources is available at the following website:”


The pay factors in Table X1.1 (Pay Adjustment Schedule for Ride Quality) will be used in conjunction with the histogram printout from ProVAL’s Smoothness Assurance Analysis option to compute a final pay adjustment.

Note (for Table 1): A different set of pay factors may be used for different project requirements. The values shown in columns three and four are for illustration only. Values in column three should be replaced with actual data from ProVAL and the appropriate Pay Adjustment calculated and placed in column four.”

ASTM E2560 Standard Specification for Data Format for Pavement Profile

X1.1.4 The Profile Viewing and Analysis (ProVAL) can be used to validate any ASTM E2560 files generated by users' programs.

Western Federal Lands HMA Smoothness Specification 401

“401.16 Pavement Roughness — (a) International Roughness Index (IRI).

.... Analysis of the profile data will be made using the latest version of the Profile Viewer and Analysis (ProVAL) software.

.... The pay factors from Table 401-3 will be used in conjunction with the histogram printout from ProVAL’s Smoothness Assurance Analysis option to compute a final pay adjustment.

.... The endpoints of the areas where a grinder is to be applied must be optimized via grinding simulation, using ProVAL’s Smoothness Assurance Grinding option.”

Colorado DOT - Procedure 74-07: Standard Practice for Operating Profilers and Evaluating Pavement Profiles

“Localized Roughness –

To find areas of localized roughness, the ICC files must be converted into a file format that can be read by ProVAL.

Open the ProVAL program…..Select “Ride Stats Continuous”. This will pull up the module that will be used to locate areas of localized roughness.”

Ohio DOT – Draft Supplement 1058 Surface Smoothness Equipment And Operator Requirements

“Materials and Equipment – Requirement after March 1, 2007

Use ProVAL software for development of Profile Index and IRI and also provide electronic copies of all longitudinal pavement profiles in either ERD (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s Engineering Research Division [ERD]) or other ProVAL compatible format.”

“Profile Device Approval – Requirements after March 1, 2007

… Electronic copies of all road profiles collected on the two sets of five runs will including lead in and lead out distance will be submitted to the Department in ERD or other ProVAL compatible format. … All indices will be generated using ProVAL software.”

Louisiana DOT - DOTD Designation TR 644-06

“II. Apparatus – B. Data Acquisition and Reporting System …..This system must be capable of producing an electronic file recognized by the ProVAL Software, such as .erd format, along with a paper copy of daily results in conformance with the reporting requirements of this procedure.”

“Note 5: G. Copy the data files in a format recognized by ProVAL for each wheelpath to the USB Storage Device.”

Pennsylvania DOT - Light Weight Profiling System CalibrationVerification and Operator Certification - PUB 589 (2008)

“RTIS (Roadway Inventory and Testing Section) reserves the right to analyze raw profile data with RoadRuf or ProVAL and compare the IRI results to those produced by the device's software. If the results of this analysis are not acceptable, the LWP (Light Weight Profiling) device's certification will be revoked or withheld.”

(page 6, Requirements) "... These files will be analysis using ProVAL’s profiler certification analysis program. ProVAL is an engineering software application that allows users to view and analyze longitudinal pavement profiles. This analysis will allow PennDOT to compare multiple runs of a profiler (i.e., repeatability test) and compare those repeats with a reference profile (i.e., accuracy test). ..."

Michigan DOT - Special Provision for Ride Quality (IRI Acceptance Criteria) (2008)

03SP502(P) 01-28-08

f. Corrective Action Requirements. .....Alternate bump finding methods which utilize the ProVAL software may be considered by the Engineer. Submit a corrective action plan to the Engineer for approval.”