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Roadway Weather Information Systems

RWIS station at MillersburgA Road Weather Information System (RWIS) uses advanced technologies to collect, transmit, model and disseminate weather and road condition information. This information usually includes road surface temperature (often a good indicator of when ice may soon be forming or when snow is likely to stick to the pavement), speed of the winds across the roadway, air temperature and presence of fog.
ODOT has installed a network of RWIS stations throughout the state. ODOT maintenance crews are currently using RWIS data to make decisions about when and where to send maintenance vehicles, in order to be able to use agency resources more efficiently. 
Other states have experienced significant benefits from using RWIS. For example, Kansas saved $12,700 in labor and materials in one location the first eight times that the state DOT used information from RWIS for decision making on winter maintenance operations. Massachusetts reported savings of $53,000 in 1994-1995 by using RWIS information for winter maintenance. Minnesota DOT used the information from their 17 RWIS stations to improve their winter maintenance efficiency, with an estimated return on their investment in RWIS of 200 percent to 1,300 percent. ODOT expects to save $7 million over 25 years due to reduction in usage of chemicals (i.e., for deicing), more efficient scheduling of crews and decreased damage to vegetation2.

Reference and Links

  1. Road Weather Information Systems: Enabling Proactive Maintenance Practices in Washington State Acrobat thumbnail image (PDF File, 1.10 MB)
  2. Visit ODOT's TripCheck web site for current road and weather conditions