An In-Depth Assessment of Montana Road Weather Information System
Started: December, 2014 Ended: January, 2017 Project ID #4W5278 Status: Completed
Results & Findings
The final report includes findings and conclusions on the following topics: state of the art review, state of the practice review, needs assessment, weather data/software analysis, benefit-cost analysis, and site prioritization model. For example, some of the conclusions from the benefit-cost analysis include: Agency specific benefits exceed costs for all three alternative software systems (alerting, forecasting and automated performance metrics) when considering the current ESS sites. The highest agency specific benefit-cost ratios were found to be possible with forecasting and automated performance metric functionalities. Total benefits including societal benefits exceed costs for all ESS expansion options (base, simple, non-invasive, and mobile) and all alternative software systems (alerting, forecasting and automated performance metrics). The highest total benefit-cost ratios were found to be possible with forecasting and automated performance metric functionalities. The final report also includes recommendations for MDT regarding RWIS investment, implementation, maintenance and operations.
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.
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.
Ahmed Al Kaisy - PI
Kris Christensen - Main External Contact
Files & Documents
Assessment of Montana Road Weather Information System (RWIS) - Final ReportReport by Download this Report (4.34 MB)
Sponsors & Partners
- Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Sponsor
Part of: Safety and Operations
Project Tagged In: winter maintenance, Road weather information systems« Back to Focus Areas