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Project Description

The road weather information system (RWIS) network is a collection of environmental sensor stations (ESS), which gives state DOTs unprecedented access to detailed, accurate, timely, and roadway-relevant weather information to effectively and efficiently promote safety, mobility and productivity in the face of weather-related challenges. ESSs currently installed across the United States are providing valuable road weather data to the DOTs, which have been integrated into winter maintenance decision support systems (MDSS) to assist maintenance managers about road treatments, such as salting, plowing, or a combination of approaches. The NYSDOT has a very limited network of RWIS stations in various states of disrepair. A comprehensive plan is needed to upgrade (if appropriate) and expand the existing network to better serve current operational needs and support a future MDSS.

The objective of this project is to develop a detailed plan for deploying a statewide RWIS to support both current NYSDOT operations and future use MDSS applications. To develop the RWIS implementation plan, various information and data sources shall be visited, including the current condition of NYSDOT’s RWIS network, potential RWIS station sites, data needed for supporting statewide MDSS applications, and NYS meteorological zones. A GIS-based model shall be developed to optimize the RWIS network, considering contiguous segments having similar maintenance requirements by associating them with features that can affect the degree of required road maintenance (e.g. topography, meteorology, traffic, etc.). Optimally, the RWIS network shall allow winter road maintenance agencies to make decisions based on accurate and timely weather information, which ultimately leads to a higher level of service and reduced weather-related congestion delay and accidents, reduced cost, redundancy and environmental/ecological impacts, more efficient use of manpower, contractor services, fleet, and asset management, and increased accountability resulting in more prudent and efficient spending. It is expected that the efficient and effective RWIS network used in conjunction with a future NYSDOT MDSS model will achieve significant operational savings while maintaining acceptable levels of service, particularly in the winter months.