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Road Weather Information System
Environmental Sensor Station
Siting Guidelines
April 2005

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Road Weather Information System Environmental Sensor Station Siting Guidelines

5. Report Date

April  2005

6.  Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)

John Manfredi, Thomas Walters, Gregory Wilke, Leon Osborne1, Robert Hart1, Tom Incrocci, Tom Schmitt2

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Science Applications International Corporation

7990 Science Applications Court; M/S: CV-48

Vienna, VA 22182

1.Meridian Environmental Technology Inc., Grand Forks, ND

2 T & S Diversified Inc., Glendale, AZ

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Federal Highway Administration

Office of Transportation Operations, Road Weather Management Program

HOTO-1, Room 3408, 400 Seventh Street, SW

Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

November 2003 - January 2005

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

Research was performed under Task Order No. SA80B070 of the above contract.

FHWA technical monitors were Paul A. Pisano and Roemer M. Alfelor. Technical support provided by Mitretek Systems.

16. Abstract

A Road Weather Information System (RWIS) consists of the hardware, software, and communications interfaces necessary to collect and transfer road weather observations from or near the roadway to a display device at the user's location.  While the original purpose of RWIS was to address winter weather conditions, applications have been developed to detect and monitor a variety of road weather conditions impacting road operations and maintenance.  Most RWISs now consist of several meteorological and pavement condition monitoring stations strategically located near highways to help transportation managers make more informed operational decisions.  An Environmental Sensor Station (ESS) is considered the "collection" component of an RWIS and consists of the equipment and sensors installed within or along a roadway. 

This document provides guidelines for siting an RWIS ESS and its associated environmental and pavement sensors.  These guidelines are intended to help establish uniformity in siting ESSs and to improve the usefulness of road weather information derived from ESS observations.  The document provides siting criteria that satisfy as many road weather monitoring, detection, and prediction requirements as possible.  The siting criteria are based on an analysis of published documents on the siting of weather and pavement sensors, and the results of interviews with nearly two dozen road weather experts representing State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), equipment suppliers, and consultants.  The recommendations encourage uniformity in ESS siting and in the application of the road weather observations.  Many of the recommended criteria include a range of values.  These values reflect both the complexity of the roadway environment and the need for additional research.  The guidelines recommend that siting decisions be made by a team of transportation operations, road maintenance, and weather experts. The siting guidelines contained in this document do not represent standards for agencies or vendors to follow, but rather a set of recommendations to consider. 

17. Key Word

Environmental sensor stations (ESS), meteorological instruments, pavement sensors, road weather data, road weather information system (RWIS), sensor siting

18. Distribution Statement

No restriction.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)                        Reproduction of completed page authorized

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