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An In-Depth Assessment of Montana Road Weather Information System

Started: December, 2014 End Date: January, 2017 Project ID #4W5278 Status: Ongoing

Objective

The objective of this project is to perform an in-depth assessment of Montana’s RWIS and ultimately produce means to improve and guide future efforts related to this aspect of MDT’s operations.

Abstract

Road weather information has become increasingly important for highway agencies particularly in states (and regions) that experience harsh winter weather conditions. Road weather information has been used by highway agencies in many applications such as winter maintenance, traveler information, and other weather-related ITS applications. The adequacy, reliability, and geographic coverage are critical aspects of weather data to be used effectively in those applications by transportation managers. Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) currently has 72 Road Weather Information System (RWIS) stations throughout the state that have been used as a major source of weather data for transportation applications. All these RWIS stations are fixed and other entities (such as the National Weather Service) currently rely on these stations for information. The number and location of these environmental sensor stations were largely determined over time by the pressing needs of the maintenance and snow removal operations, without much consideration to other applications that are in need of accurate and timely road weather data. Therefore, a comprehensive review and assessment of the state road weather data collection program is needed to ensure: 1) the efficient use of weather data in various transportation applications and 2) the optimum use of MDT resources. The objective of this project is to perform an in-depth assessment of Montana’s RWIS and ultimately produce means to improve and guide future efforts related to this aspect of MDT’s operations. More specifically, this project will gain understanding of and document the state of the art related to RWIS, the state of the practice related to RWIS, MDT’s data and software needs and options, benefits and costs of existing and alternative RWIS in Montana, as well as implementation recommendations and guidelines for future installations and efforts by MDT related to road weather data. The knowledge gained and recommendations resulting from that knowledge will be documented throughout the final report.

Contacts

Sponsors & Partners

  • Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Sponsor

Related Information

Part of: Safety and Operations

Project Tagged In: winter maintenance, Road weather information systems

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