Street Pavement Condition

How well are we maintaining our local streets?

Street Pavement Condition

Street pavement condition, more commonly referred to as the pavement condition index (PCI), reflects the quality of pavement on local streets and roads in the region. Calculated using a three-year moving average, PCI ranges from zero (failed) to 100 (brand-new) and has been used as a regional indicator of pavement preservation for over a decade.

The Bay Area’s local streets and roads form the foundation of the regional transportation system, providing access to jobs, homes, schools, shopping and recreation for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. Preserving these facilities is essential to avoid the development of potholes. While pavement conditions in the region have remained remarkably stable on a year-to-year basis, actions to preserve local streets are evident on the city and county levels.

Regional Performance
The regional average PCI score has been quite stable, ranging between 64 and 66 for the past decade.

Pavement on Bay Area streets and roads remains in “fair” condition with an overall PCI of 66. Not only has PCI been relatively stable for the past decade, but 2015 was the seventh consecutive year with the same regional PCI. This is reflective of stagnation in performance gains over the past few years. While local governments continue to work to improve their pavement condition, aging infrastructure remains a challenge for the region.

While the regional trend has been relatively stable in recent years, performance gains are more evident on the county level. San Francisco had the biggest improvement in PCI in the past half-decade, gaining 3 points. Roads in Marin and Alameda counties have also seen improvement in PCI over the past half-decade, while Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solano and Napa counties have experienced slight declines in countywide PCI.

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Historical Trend for Street Pavement Condition - Bay Area

Regional Distribution
Most cities’ pavement conditions have only changed marginally over the past decade.

The majority of Bay Area cities have seen minimal shifts in their pavement conditions over the past ten years. For example, many of the region’s most populous cities – including San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland and Fremont – have only shifted by a few PCI points over the past decade. Yet there have also been some success stories, particularly in smaller jurisdictions like El Cerrito. In 2005, El Cerrito’s roads were considered at risk due to their PCI of 57. Over the next decade, sustained investment in local streets led to the city’s PCI increasing by a remarkable 27 points, the greatest improvement of any Bay Area city.

Comparative Jurisdiction PCI Scores

Local Focus
Pavement conditions vary widely—not only from street to street, but also from city to city.

Pavement in the region’s two largest cities – San Jose and San Francisco – falls squarely into the “fair” range of the PCI scale. This performance level is not unique to the largest jurisdictions; approximately three-quarters of Bay Area cities have PCIs ranging between 60 and 79 (reflecting fair-to-good conditions). Notable exceptions include the region’s third most populous city, Oakland, along with its neighbors Berkeley and San Leandro – all of which have “at risk” PCIs between 50 and 59.

North Bay communities dominate the list of Bay Area communities with the lowest PCI scores; among these are Larkspur, Petaluma, Vallejo and St. Helena. Some of the region’s smoothest roads can be found in East Bay cities such as Brentwood, Dublin and El Cerrito. Not surprisingly, superior pavement conditions are often found in newer communities, where most streets were constructed in the last 20 years or so.

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2015 Street Pavement Condition by City and by Street Segment

Segment Details


Condition (PCI range)
  • Poor/Failed (0-49)
  • At Risk (50-59)
  • Good/Fair (60-79)
  • Excellent/Very Good (80-100)

Metropolitan Transportation Commission: StreetSaver (2003-2015)

Image: MTC Library (ID# Draper-55)

Methodology Notes: 

Pavement condition index (PCI) relies upon a three-year moving average for regional, county, and city PCI to improve the reliability of the PCI data on an annual basis. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 representing a failed road and 100 representing a brand-new facility. Segment PCI data is collected on a rolling basis but is imputed for interim years based on facility age and treatments using the MTC StreetSaver system. Due to the lack of reported PCI data in 2005, the cities of Walnut Creek and Palo Alto are not included in the Regional Distribution chart.