Pavement surface profiles induce dynamic ride responses in vehicles which can potentially be used to classify road surface roughness. A novel method is proposed for the characterisation of pavement roughness through an analysis of vehicle accelerations. A combinatorial optimisation technique is applied to the determination of pavement profile heights based on measured accelerations at and above the vehicle axle. Such an approach, using low-cost inertial sensors, would provide an inexpensive alternative to the costly laser-based profile measurement vehicles. The concept is numerically validated using a half-car roll dynamic model to infer measurements of road profiles in both the left and right wheel paths.