Minnesota DOT Uses Connected Arrow Boards to Improve Traveler Information and Lane Closure Information Accuracy at an Estimated Annual Cost of $16,560.

Minnesota DOT Conducted a one-year test of a Smarter Work Zone Technology Application with 20 Connected Arrow Boards in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

Made Public Date

Starting in April 2018, Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) tested the integration of lane closure messages from 20 connected arrow boards with the agency's existing Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) and Road Condition Reporting System (RCRS). The connected arrow boards gather and communicate lane closure status from short duration maintenance work zones. The integration allowed real-time communication of the lane closure information to the public via dynamic message signs (DMS) and the 511 traveler information system.

The goals of the deployment included:

  • Improving data completeness, accuracy, and reliability of real-time work zone lane closure information through automatic reporting of operational data including activation status, facing direction, arrow direction, location, and time 
  • Improving lane closure traveler information dissemination by automatically posting lane closures on the 511 web site and mobile application, and enabling traffic management center (TMC) staff to post lane closures on upstream DMS
  • Maintaining a sustainable information system for performance management by storing raw and processed lane closure data to track operational performance

The estimated costs of the MnDOT connected arrow board deployment are provided in the table below. The primary cost associated with the connected arrow board deployment was in the rental of the Arrow Board Reporting System. These vendor-owned systems, including the vendor-hosted server, were rented from the vendor at a per-month, per-device cost. The rental fee included arrow board installation, and the periodic maintenance and inspection of the reporting systems.

Table 1: Costs for Pilot Connected Arrow Board Deployment
Cost Item Estimated Staff Time Annual Estimated Cost
Rental of 20 Connected Arrow Board Systems  


($60 / month per device)

MnDOT maintenance of devices 1 hour / device per month $1,200
Routine Maintenance of Arrow Board functions in State’s Intelligent Roadway Information System (IRIS)  8 hours / year $480
Routine Maintenance of Arrow Board functions in Condition Acquisition and Reporting System (CARS) 8 hours / year $480
Total annual cost   $16,560


The cost information does not account for the cost of the arrow boards themselves, as well as staff hours initially required to integrate the connected arrow board functions. However, this is a one-time activity and can be leveraged for future larger-scale deployments.

The estimates in the table reflect the costs associated with a small-scale pilot activity. It is anticipated that the per-unit cost of deploying a connected arrow board system will decrease in the future for large-scale deployments.

System Cost

Annual rental and maintenance cost for deployment of 20 connected arrow boards: $16,560

System Cost Subsystem