Use of the Digital Surface Roughness Meter in Virginia

Report No: 07-R4

Published in 2006

About the report:

Pavement surface texture is measured in a variety of ways in Virginia. Two methods commonly used are ASTM E 965, Standard Test Method for Measuring Pavement Macrotexture Depth Using a Volumetric Technique, known as the "sand patch" test, and ASTM E 2157, Standard Test Method for Measuring Pavement Macrotexture Properties Using the Circular Track (CT) Meter. In September 2005, staff from the Virginia Transportation Research Council inquired about using the Digital Surface Roughness Meter (DSRM®) to measure the surface texture of several concrete and asphalt surfaces. Measurements were taken on concrete and asphalt surfaces using the DSRM®, CT meter, and sand patch test, and the results were compared. From the data obtained, there appears to be a good correlation among the results of the three methods. The DSRM® and sand patch tests appear to be more accurate on surfaces that are not uniform. However, this may be because the center of the rotating arm of the CT meter may have missed particular non-uniform areas on the testing surface. The use of the DSRM® and CT meter devices also reduces the probability of human error. The sand patch test is exposed to a greater probability of human error; it is a test that cannot be performed quickly without comprising accuracy. The DSRM® is a better device to use under a time constraint.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • David W. Mokarem 

Last updated: November 25, 2023

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