This project used surveys to evaluate the impacts of improved Road Weather Information Systems and Highway Advisory Radio on the behavior, safety, and efficiency of commercial vehicle operators (CVOs), regional traveler information seekers, and WSDOT personnel responsible for maintaining operations along the US-395 corridor, north of Spokane, Washington.
Prior to the project, closed circuit television (CCTV) camera coverage and on-site Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) systems were not available. Internet traveler information only covered conditions in the immediate Spokane area and traffic reports were only available periodically on radio stations. In 2002, the project integrated two Environmental Sensing Stations (ESS) with a regional Road Weather Information System (RWIS) and Transportation Management Center (TMC), and deployed two mobile HAR systems to broadcast traveler information in the immediate areas of Loon Lake and Laurier area on US-395, and at Sherman Pass on SR-20.
The two new ESS installations were equipped with pole mounted CCTV cameras and sensors to measure pavement temperature, surface condition, solution freeze point, sub-grade temperature, wind speed/direction, precipitation type/intensity, visibility, air temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure. The data collected at each site were transmitted to WSDOT operators and relayed to the TMC in Wenatchee where pass condition information was posted on the WSDOT website and made available at a toll-free telephone number. HAR trailers were programmed to broadcast road and weather restrictions information using limited range radio transmitters.
The evaluation project was designed to measure changes in users’ decisions before and after deployment with consideration given to maintenance procedures, trip timing, trip routing, and level of preparedness. Baseline data (before equipment installation) were collected during the winter of 2000-2001, and post-deployment data were collected in the winter of 2002-2003. The evaluation team estimated that the duration of the post-deployment period (December 2002 through March 2003) would be sufficient time to allow travelers and operators to become aware of system components and use the information provided.
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