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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Road Condition Reporting System Integration
Project Researcher: Leon Osborne,
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: -
Status: Approved
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) recently deployed a new Road Condition Reporting System (RCRS), which accepts and manages information about transient conditions on the state highway network. The RCRS database was designed to accommodate a wide variety of conditions, including weather-related road surface conditions, construction and maintenance work, emergencies and incidents, and restrictions on vehicle size, weight, and movement. Personnel throughout SDDOT regularly enter condition information, which the RCRS feeds to the 511 Statewide Traveler Information System, to the Automated Commercial Vehicle Permitting System, to law enforcement agencies, and to e-mail subscribers. The RCRS has enabled SDDOT to provide more accurate information and to reduce latency from hours to minutes. Comments from customers of the 511 Statewide Traveler Information System suggest a noticeably higher level of satisfaction since the RCRS was deployed.

Successful deployment and experience in using the RCRS has led to the identification of several potentially useful enhancements:

  • Minor refinements in currently defined menus for road conditions related to weather and highway construction and maintenance would improve message clarity.

  • The ability to enter conditions from mobile vehicles via the state radio system or other wireless communications would improve the timeliness of information and the efficiency of SDDOT staff.

  • Providing road condition information via the Internet in a map-like format similar to that used to enter condition information would greatly improve its accessibility and usefulness to the public.

  • Entry screens and processes for Amber Alerts, natural disasters, and traffic incidents need to be created.

  • Automated procedures for updating the definition of the state highway network are needed to maintain currency and compatibility with the Automated Commercial Vehicle Permitting System.

  • It may be feasible to accept road condition information from trusted sources outside of SDDOT.

  • It may be feasible to trigger roadside devices, such as dynamic message signs, upon verification of certain road conditions.

  • The RCRS may be able to provide a significant portion of the information needed to inform a Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) of current road conditions. The MDSS is well under development by a six-state pooled fund study led by South Dakota.

  • Additional work is needed to determine whether and how such enhancements can be accomplished and to add the feasible and useful functions to the RCRS.


    Research Objectives:
    1  To enable the RCRS to support the full range of road conditions applicable in South Dakota.
    2  To automate the process for updating South Dakota's state highway network in the RCRS, using standard files supplied by SDDOT's Transportation Inventory Management office.
    3  To replace SDDOT's current road condition web page with a map depiction of road conditions.
    4  To design the information architecture linking the RCRS and the developing Winter Maintenance Decision Support System.
    5  To establish and demonstrate the feasibility of entering road condition information from mobile sources.

    Research Tasks:
    1  Meet with the project's technical panel to review project scope and work plan.
    2  From user comments and direction from the project's technical panel, identify and make revisions needed to existing condition definitions and input screens in the RCRS.
    3  By June 1, 2005, create input screens and processes to support entry and dissemination of emergencies, incidents, and secure Amber Alert notifications through the RCRS.
    4  Create a SafeTravelUSA web page that graphically depicts South Dakota road conditions on a map, in accordance with specifications supplied by the project's technical panel.
    5  Develop and verify procedures for regularly updating South Dakota's state highway network in the RCRS using standard files provided by SDDOT's Transportation Inventory Management office.
    6  Through coordination with pooled fund study TPF-5(054), Development of a Maintenance Decision Support System (SDDOT project SD2002-18), develop and recommend an information architecture that integrates road condition information with the MDSS.
    7  Based in part on results of SD2005-03, recommend, for approval of the project's technical panel, hardware and software specifications, cost estimates, acceptance testing plan, and an operational field testing plan for portable data entry equipment an
    8  Build functionality within RCRS to accept road condition information from portable data entry and wireless communications equipment.
    9  Direct and evaluate results of an operational field test of mobile data collection using the developed software and the specified hardware, which will be supplied by SDDOT.
    10  By March 31, 2006 recommend for approval of the project's technical panel revised hardware and software specifications for wide-scale deployment of mobile entry information into the RCRS.
    11  Evaluate the feasibility and advisability of using trusted sources outside of SDDOT to input information into the RCRS.
    12  Evaluate the feasibility and advisability of using information in the RCRS to trigger display of messages on South Dakota's dynamic message signs, either automatically or with manual intervention.
    13  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
    14  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:
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