Ensure good data quality to successfully integrate weather alert system based upon Road Weather Information Systems.
Caltrans District 3 experience in implementing a weather alert notification system in a Regional Transportation Management Center
- Test and demonstrate data quality early in the implementation process to build operator confidence in the alert system. A critical task early in the process was to engage a contractor to calibrate the RTMC's field sensors. In the baseline period, the operators reported having little confidence in the data they were receiving from the sensors. After sensor recalibration and implementation of the alert notification system, operator confidence improved, though there remained some carryover of the perception that these data were still suspect. Operator training can help overcome such skepticism by explaining clearly what has been done to improve the data quality in the system and providing evidence that shows these improvements.
- Remain flexible and responsive throughout the demonstration period to understand where the alert system can be fine-tuned and improved. For example, adding new strategically located sensors, upgrading the weather detection capabilities of the sensors, adding better detecting and notification of the end of the a weather event, adding possible visual and auditory notification in the RTMC, and refining procedures have all been identified as candidate improvements during the course of the demonstration. Another example is in the increased use of the TMC logs. New procedures have emphasized the importance of making log entries that document and explain the actions operators have taken in response to receipt of the alerts, and the operators' logging performance has improved over this period.
- Anticipate how time and resource constraints affect the performance of an alert notification system. The State of California is experiencing a severe economic downturn that has reduced staffing levels, making it difficult to integrate the weather alert notification system into TMC operations. TMC Management also was constrained by procedural requirements associated with the implementation of new projects. Several planned activities, such as installing new Road Weather Information System sites and developing a more sophisticated alert system, were not accomplished due to funding or time constraints. These constraints need to be anticipated and understood when implementing new systems and contingency plans developed to overcome them.
This lesson suggests that testing and recalibrating field sensors to demonstrate data quality should be an integral first step in the implementation plan for future weather alert notification systems. Project managers should also remain flexible about fine tuning the system during implementation and recognize that resource constraints may limit the scope of the system's upgrades and full integration.
Author: Cluett, Chris; Kitchener, Fred
Published By: United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Office of Operations
Source Date: August 2010
Other Reference Number: NTL Record ID 36168URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/36000/36100/36168/sac_evaluation_report_final.pdf
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Intelligent Transportation Systems > Road Weather Management > Information Dissemination > Dynamic Message Signs
Intelligent Transportation Systems > Road Weather Management > Surveillance, Monitoring, & Prediction > Atmospheric Conditions
Intelligent Transportation Systems > Transportation Management Centers > Permanent TMCs > Freeway
DMS, CMS, VMS, Changeable Message Signs, Variable Message Signs, RWIS, ESS, Environmental Sensor Station, RWIS Station, road monitoring, weather station, environmental sensing station