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Comparative Evaluation of Wind Warning Systems – Showcase Evaluation #15

Project #: 426705
Start Date: 07/15/2002
End Date: 12/31/2005
Status: Completed

One challenge facing rural travelers is weather hazards that produce adverse driving conditions at isolated locations. One such hazard is high winds that can cause high-profile vehicles such as recreational or commercial vehicles to overturn, and lower-profile vehicles to leave their lanes, jeopardizing motorist safety. Since wind conditions and patterns are defined significantly by local topography, there is limited ability to mitigate the impacts of wind through improved roadway design.To address localized challenges, the Oregon and California Departments of Transportation (ODOT and Caltrans, respectively) have used intelligent transportation systems (ITS) installations to alert motorists of dangerously windy conditions. These installations include US Route 101 in Oregon at Yaquina Bay and between Port Orford and Gold Beach, and on Interstate 5 in northern California near Weed. Each system has different characteristics from the other two, in terms of the degree of motorist information and automation.This evaluation effort will assess whether these systems have resulted in a reduction in the number of crashes involving high profile vehicles, and will also identify and estimate other benefits such as the cost savings, personnel time savings, and travel time savings. Comparable systems internationally and within the country will also be documented. The evaluation will also include a motorist survey, an assessment of the reliability of the technology, and an assessment of system operations, focusing on validating wind speed and duration thresholds and measuring the operational savings and the accuracy of the controller.


This evaluation will assess the safety, traveler satisfaction and other benefits associated with automated wind warning systems installed in the COATS region, and contrast the relative merits of each system type.