Federal Highway Administration Aurora Program Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF-5(290))
Iowa Department of Transportation
About the research
This project pursued a large-scale effort to deploy non-invasive sensors adjacent to invasive sensors (embedded in the pavement) located at existing road weather information system (RWIS) stations and to consider agency suitability between the different sensors. While some RWIS stations may have multiple invasive sensors measuring pavement temperature at various locations (e.g., bridge deck and approach), this deployment was unique in that both the invasive and non-invasive sensors were measuring the same, proximate physical locations.
Within this effort, the project team was responsible for identifying the non-invasive sensors on the market, purchasing and distributing the compatible devices and necessary auxiliary equipment to participating Aurora member states and, once installed, assimilating agency experiences and establishing access, if possible, to the sensor data for comparison and visual presentation. The participating Aurora agencies were responsible for site selection, sensor calibration, installation, and maintenance.
In general, many participating states provided positive feedback with respect to non-invasive sensors and their reported data. Some of the challenges that were shared included identifying a suitable installation location due to sensor specifications, initial sensor operation, and integration and data retrieval.
As a result of this experience, some participating state departments of transportation (DOTs) have decided to adopt non-invasive sensors, expand their deployment of them, or even consider applications beyond those planned with this project. While this project initially targeted pavement surface temperature, one participating agency with limited non-invasive sensor experience is planning on statewide deployment for real-time friction measurements for use in agency decision making.
The project allowed participating agencies to work with new vendors, creating an opportunity to evaluate the different products, encounter potential issues, and identify possible solutions through a low-risk environment. This effort will support future research on both pavement temperatures and friction across the US based on data from the same makes and models of non-invasive equipment.