We present an image processing algorithm customized for high-speed, real-time inspection of pavement cracking. In the algorithm, a pavement image is divided into grid cells of 8×8 pixels, and each cell is classified as a noncrack or crack cell using the grayscale information of the border pixels. Whether a crack cell can be regarded as a basic element (or seed) depends on its contrast to the neighboring cells. A number of crack seeds can be called a crack cluster if they fall on a linear string. A crack cluster corresponds to a dark strip in the original image that may or may not be a section of a real crack. Additional conditions to verify a crack cluster include the requirements in the contrast, width, and length of the strip. If verified crack clusters are oriented in similar directions, they will be joined to become one crack. Because many operations are performed on crack seeds rather than on the original image, crack detection can be executed simultaneously when the frame grabber is forming a new image, permitting real-time, online pavement surveys. The trial test results show a good repeatability and accuracy when multiple surveys were conducted at different driving conditions.