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Research Projects (1999-00)

Identifying Number


Project Title

Evaluation of Road Weather Information System (RWIS) Data and Dissemination of Data to Public


University of Utah

Project Investigator

Peter Martin
University of Utah

External Project Contact


Project Objective

  • Determine the best use of various available hardware
  • What data is appropriate and useful to the public
  • How can this information best be disseminated

Project Abstract

Implementation and field testing to validate the findings should follow the results of this research. The different RWIS vendors' products need to be compared in side-by-side tests to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses in each for reporting the accuracy of different weather variables. Unfortunately, while the comparison is valuable, the cost of RWIS equipment is prohibitive and requires a much greater budgetary contribution to obtain the various RWIS hardware and associated installation costs. If the hardware was donated and UDOT resources utilized for installation, then the comparison is a feasible task. If the additional contributions are made available, then the scope should be expanded to include field evaluations of equipment performance and accuracy as well as driver behavior in response to messages (including cost/benefit of RWIS data disseminations). This would also be an appropriate follow up study.

Task Descriptions

The project will begin with a thorough evaluation of the RWIS products and technologies that are commercially available. Advantages and limitations of the various technologies will lead to recommendations on the most advantageous system based on the review. Surveys with the system users (drivers) and the government agencies (the city, county and DOT) are intended to determine what data is preferred by the public and what data is appropriate to give to the public to promote an improved driver awareness and decision making process. A behavioral study on message preference, information required and message wording effectiveness will be based on interview surveys of both drivers and governing officials to determine if the public information expectations are consistent with the governing bodies views. The surveys will be combined with a literature search on most effective types of messages. Included in the survey will be issues of type of information, preferred method for dissemination, and accuracy. The dissemination method is important in providing the necessary information in a timely, accurate, acceptable fashion. This may include HAR, CMS or other technologies to convey the information.

Milestones, Dates

  • Starting Date: July 1, 1999
  • Project Milestones:
  • Interim Report: March 1, 2000
  • Draft Research Report: May 1, 2000
  • Final Research Report: June 1, 2000
  • Ending Date: June 30, 2000

Yearly and Total Budget

USDOT $30,000
University $54,981
TOTAL $84,981

Student Involvement

Two graduate students, one thesis.

Relationship to Other Research Projects


Technology Transfer Activities

Workshop for Utah Department of Transportation winter maintenance and public relations personnel.

Potential Benefits of the Project

  • Improved motorist decision-making capabilities
  • Better departmental decisions on type of RWIS to use in specific circumstances
  • Potential accident reductions

TRB Keywords

RWIS, driver information systems

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050