The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is using friction sensors— electronic radars attached to the back end of fleet vehicles— to collect data on the amount of grip present on a roadway, increasing road safety and lowering costs.
The sensors relay information on pavement temperature changes, along with friction and moisture levels present on a roadway, to the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) where they determine which segments of roadway need salt, liquid materials, plowing, or a combination of treatments. By mapping site-specific data, maintenance workers can focus on areas that need treatment rather than treating whole sections of roadway.
- In testing these sensors on a small selection of roads, CDOT reduced use of solid materials by 21 percent and liquid materials by 56 percent over the course of three statewide snowstorms - resulting in $180,000 of savings in material costs for CDOT.
- If implemented State-wide, CDOT estimates these sensors will save over a million dollars per year with the State’s average 15 snowstorms per winter.