Evaluation of Portable Road Weather Information Systems
Funding Source: MassDOT and Federal Highway Administration
Title: Evaluation of Portable Road Weather Information Systems
Date: June 2016
Summary: Recent advances in weather sensing technology, cellular communications, and solar panel technology have enabled the development of portable road weather information systems (RWISs). In this project, a full analysis of the state of the art for these types of systems was performed, providing insights into best practices. Two prototype portable systems based on commercial weather sensors, cellular communications equipment, and solar energy were developed and tested to better understand the challenges and tradeoffs of RWIS design. The prototype systems were deployed on roadways in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and evaluated for 12 months. As a result of testing, three additional RWIS units were developed for roadway use. This report provides a comprehensive look at the background, decision making, and lessons learned from these research activities. The availability of the five systems created for the project for continuous use in winter road monitoring will benefit the Commonwealth for years to come.