Depression storage capacities of different ideal pavements as quantified by a terrestrial laser scanning-based method

Water Sci Technol. 2015;71(6):862-9. doi: 10.2166/wst.2015.025.


Rainfall partition on paved urban surfaces is governed to a great extent by depression storage. This is especially the case for small rainfall events, which are often ignored in urban hydrology. If storage, infiltration and evaporation (important for urban heat island mitigation), rather than storm water run-off, are of interest, high-resolution simulations with exact values for depression storage capacities are required. Terrestrial laser scanners deliver fast, high-resolution surveys of pavement surface morphology. The depression storage capacity can be quantified from 3D points by generating digital elevation models and applying cut-and-fill algorithms in a geographic information system. The method was validated using a test model. It was possible to quantify depressions with a depth of at least 1.4 × 10(-3) m and a surface of at least 15 × 10(-6) m(2) with an uncertainty below 30%. Applying this method, the depression storage capacities for 11 ideal, typical pavement designs were found to vary from 0.07 to 1.4 mm. Realistic urban pavements must also be surveyed, as cracks and puddles from their use history can have a major impact on the depression storage capacities and thus on infiltration, evaporation and, finally, the annual run-off.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Berlin
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Lasers*
  • Permeability
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Transportation
  • Water / analysis
  • Water Movements*


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water
  • asphalt