Look to Braking and Wheel Counter Information from Vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) Data for Early Indication of Winter Conditions.
Pilot in Indiana Evaluated Effectiveness of Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus System with Real-Time Dashboards in Identifying Hazardous Winter Road Conditions.
Made Public Date

Extraction of Vehicle CAN Bus Data for Roadway Condition Monitoring


A significant challenge in winter roadway maintenance is to identify emerging or deteriorating conditions before significant crashes occur. Data collected by modern vehicles via accelerometers, anti-lockbrake (ABS), and traction control systems can be read from the Controller Area Network (CAN) of the vehicle. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) aims to combine CAN bus data with global positioning system (GPS) coordinates, and cellular communications technology to manage winter operations more effectively by using data-driven decisions. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of commercially available CAN systems in identifying hazardous winter road conditions and to integrate a CAN monitoring system with in-vehicle systems. CAN bus speed, GPS accuracy, braking systems, drivetrain, accelerometer, steering, climate, lighting, and emergency systems were assessed. The study developed a pilot system with a vehicle interface as well as multiple real-time dashboards that can receive/transmit, process, and display data.

Lessons Learned

  • Use hard braking and wheel counter data as an early indicator of winter conditions. The study successfully piloted an integrated CAN bus system to monitor road conditions in real-time, and these data points were found to be the most useful in formulating maintenance strategies during winter events.
  • Transmit relevant signals only from the vehicle to the agency. The volume of CAN data can make integrated CAN bus systems difficult to install over a large fleet as signals are generated at millisecond fidelity. Restricting signal transmissions can improve system scalability.
  • Evaluate the feasibility of obtaining and processing weather-related data. This includes windshield wiper and defroster data and temperature readings. Understanding data limits would help determine the system’s effectiveness and the extent to which it could enhance winter road activities.
  • Work with connected vehicle (CV) data providers to integrate data and identify locations with deteriorating conditions. The study recommended integrating hard braking and traction/friction data into Traffic Management Center (TMC) operation strategies to better coordinate winter road maintenance. CV data providers could also help TMCs identify road segments or pavement sections that are deteriorating and require repair.
  • Develop plans for integrating winter weather data generated by CVs into mid- and long-term practices. The practices of the TMC central office, and local sub-districts, districts, and units should adjust with data. The winter weather data generated by CVs can be particularly valuable to subdistricts and units.
  • Collaborate with automotive industry partners to develop road condition and CAN bus data metrics. This would facilitate the transition to a commercially available, scalable fleet of CAN bus systems.

Extraction of Vehicle CAN Bus Data for Roadway Condition Monitoring

Extraction of Vehicle CAN Bus Data for Roadway Condition Monitoring
Source Publication Date
Li, Howell; Enrique Saldivar-Carranza; Jijo K. Mathew; Woosung Kim; Jairaj Desai; Timothy Wells; and Darcy M. Bullock
Prepared by the Joint Transportation Research Program for the Indiana Department of Transportation
Other Reference Number
Report No. FHWA/IN/JTRP-2020/20