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Research Projects (2008-09)

Identifying Number


Project Title

Developing System for Consistent Messaging on Interstate 80's Dynamic Message Signs, Year 2


University of Wyoming

Project Investigator

Dr. Rhonda Kae Young

Description of Project Abstract

The Interstate 80 corridor between Cheyenne and Laramie experiences extreme weather conditions that result in a significant number of crashes. The Wyoming Department of Transportation has invested considerable resources in implementing Intelligent Transportation Technology in this corridor to address these safety concerns. As part of this ITS system, there are eight dynamic message signs (DMS) in a 15 mile stretch of the interstate. In order to effectively operate these message signs and to provide consistent messaging to the public, this research proposes to develop a process for integrating data from different sources into a support system for determining sign messages. The data sources include weather information from the corridor's Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) and the national weather service, speeds from 15 speed sensors, and condition information from the plow operators.

Project Objectives

The main objective of this research work is to develop a decision support system for Dynamic Message Signs. To meet this objective the following major research tasks are proposed:

  • Establish a base line for existing operations by integrating data from the DMS software, District 1 Dispatch Center Log Books, Speed Sensors, RWIS, and National Weather Service to determine the affect sign messages have had on speeds in corridor.
  • Work with Dispatch Personnel, Plow Drivers, and the WYDOT GIS/ITS Program to develop methodologies to improve the consistency of plow condition reports.
  • Develop online survey for users of WYDOTs Road Travel website to get feedback on the corridor’s ITS system.
  • Create a frequent travelers focus group to generate feedback on how will the ITS system in the corridor was utilized for specific weather events and incidents.
  • Test various message sets on the DMSs and monitor speeds and other feedback sources to evaluate their effectiveness.
  • Compile the results from all the tasks into a decision support system for operators.

MPC Critical Issues Addressed by Research

#3: Applications of GIS and ITS technologies to highway safety.

Contributions/Potential Applications of Research

The results of this research effort will provide the Wyoming Department of Transportation with a decision support system to be used by operators at the statewide TMC in determining appropriate messages for the I-80 corridor’s DMSs.

Technology Transfer Activities

Research effort can be applied to the operation of Dynamic Message Signs in rural corridors. The research results will be disseminated through a final report, technical paper, and conference presentations.

Time Duration

July 1, 2008 -June 30, 2009

Total Project Cost


MPC Funds Requested


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