CLOSE OVERLAY
Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

09/01/20

END DATE

02/28/23

SPONSORS

Federal Highway Administration Aurora Program Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF-5(435))

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Gerry Wiener

About the research

Department of transportation (DOT) maintenance supervisors utilize a variety of tools including maintenance decision support systems (MDSS) to gain a better understanding of current and future road surface conditions (RSC) during winter weather. MDSS automatically attempt to deduce current RSC based on road weather information system (RWIS) and other data to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy. Although current MDSS implementations present highway camera imagery, they typically do not incorporate automated camera image recognition in order to improve the MDSS assessment of winter RSC. Thus, there can be discrepancies between the road weather conditions in camera images and MDSS RSC assessments. For example, an MDSS assessment may determine that a highway is clear whereas associated camera images show snow or vice versa. Such discrepancies can lead to a loss of confidence, system criticism, and noncompliance with MDSS recommendations. From that point of view, the integration of automated RSC camera image recognition into MDSS implementations can have a number of benefits:

  • Better RSC assessment performance
  • Better road treatment recommendations owing to better RSC identification
  • Improved MDSS use and compliance with system recommendations owing to user confidence

Recent research in RSC identification has applied convolutional neural networks (CNN) and related techniques to the winter RSC identification problem. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is interested in transitioning these automated RSC identification techniques from the research community to the DOT community. Since NCAR has significant experience in the research-to-operations arena, the NCAR team worked with Aurora Program members to develop a set of recommendations for transitioning the relevant technology to MDSS applications.

Even though recent research efforts seem quite successful, the NCAR team was also interested in the potential to improve the initial CNN RSC identification by incorporating additional relevant data such as the following:

  • RWIS precipitation/temperature data
  • Vehicle speed/volume data
Project Details
STATUS

Completed

PROJECT NUMBER

2020-04

START DATE

09/01/20

END DATE

01/24/23

SPONSORS

Federal Highway Administration Aurora Program Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF-5(435))

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Gerry Wiener
Co-Principal Investigator
Laura Fay

About the research

The objectives of this project were to determine the relationship between weather conditions and roadway friction measurements as observed in the laboratory, determine whether it is possible to standardize friction measurements coming from multiple friction sensors for identical weather conditions and roadway pavement types, determine whether the relationship between weather and roadway friction found in the laboratory is analogous to the relationship between weather and pavement friction found in practice on highways, and model roadway friction using weather conditions to predict it at sites where friction measurements may not be available.

The objectives were accomplished through cold laboratory testing of stationary friction sensors, standardizing friction measurements from multiple stationary and mobile friction sensors, using meteorological measurements from Colorado and Minnesota to infer road friction conditions, and conducting a friction wheel measurement analysis using data from Sweden.

Key findings from this effort include the following:

  • Machine learning models can be created using data from friction sensors in the cold laboratory that exhibit a good mean absolute error in predicting the laboratory friction response to meteorological conditions set in the laboratory, but the models have a higher mean absolute error when applied to data from the field. For this reason, the researchers do not recommend using the model developed in the laboratory with field data.
  • Collocated road weather information system (RWIS) and stationary friction sensor data can be used to develop state-specific friction models using machine learning techniques. These models can then be used to provide a synthetic friction estimate at RWIS sites that are not equipped with stationary friction sensors. The accuracy of the predictions can be determined at sites where friction sensors are available. The accuracy is improved when water thickness and/or snow thickness are available.
  • RWIS measurements including air temperature, surface temperature, dew point temperature, relative humidity, and road condition measurements including road state, water thickness, and snow thickness can be used to derive an accurate friction model that targets observed friction values.
  • Friction values from multiple sensor types are close in magnitude when friction is high, but when friction values drop, agreement among sensors is variable. To standardize the measurements from multiple friction sensors, friction values from multiple sensors can either be averaged or associated with a set of friction categories.
Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

PROJECT NUMBER

2020-02

START DATE

06/01/20

END DATE

05/31/22

SPONSORS

Federal Highway Administration Aurora Program Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF-5(435))

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Xuan Zhu

Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Utah

Co-Principal Investigator
Xianfeng Yang 

Assistant Professor (Transportation Engineering), Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Utah

About the research

The research aims to develop a convenient tool that is capable of conducting multi-lane roadway temperature mapping and pavement slippery condition evaluation in winter seasons. With the adoption of infrared and video cameras, the proposed technology will provide accurate and robust measures of road surface temperature and slippery conditions for winter weather severity index evaluation.

The research outcomes include 1) an automated infrared-based data acquisition system and 2) a dual-sensory road temperature and slippery condition evaluation system. Furthermore, the team will evaluate the feasibility of machine learning-empowered ice/snow detection algorithms. A series of field experimental tests will be conducted to obtain sufficient real-world data with the developed prototype for technology development and performance evaluation. 

TOP