Seeing this van in-person reminded me of Ghost Busters, but Mark Chevalier and Doug Maki ensured me that they are not searching for ghosts as they traverse the metro area, but rather cracks, pot holes and uneven pavement. Maki and Chevalier work for MnDOT in Metro Maintenance and they, along with some help from their friends, profile all of the State roads in the metro area each year.
The van pictured above is used to profile the ancillary roads (turn lanes, ramps and interchanges for us lay people) in the metro area. The cameras in the front take photos of the road as it passes so that MnDOT can count cracks and pot holes on the surface. It also measures bounce or International Roughness Index (IRI). This information is used to determine the road’s Ride Quality Index (RQI). The IRI and RQI are used to determine the overall condition of the road which helps prioritize improvements and let’s crews know what needs to be done. Scoring is done before and after repairs to measure improvements.
If you see this vehicle out and about, they are not catching ghosts, but rather gathering data to rid our roads of pot holes, which is just as important! Thanks for the good work guys.