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Road and Weather Information System

R/WIS Site

Mn/DOT Road and Weather Information System (R/WIS)


The Road and Weather Information System (R/WIS) is an extension of the 1987 Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP). It is one of many products resulting from that research. Mn/DOT, among other states, is a participant in the Aurora Program. The Aurora Consortium initiatives emphasize technological advancement and improved Road and Weather Information Systems in order to more effectively deal with winter road conditions.

The focus of R/WIS is the efficient and effective integration and dissemination of road and weather information across the state of Minnesota. The R/WIS system is comprised of a network of weather stations that monitor road and weather conditions and subsequently feed data back to a central database for dissemination to the maintenance personnel at the state and local level. While the primary focus of the R/WIS system has been on winter maintenance operations, Mn/DOT is attempting to evaluate and extend the use of R/WIS technology to spring and winter load studies.

Another primary goal of R/WIS implementation in Minnesota is the implementation of a system that is able to accommodate various types of instruments. In particular, a portion of the R/WIS project is dedicated to testing the system's communication architecture. Studies, conducted by Mn/DOT's Office of Materials and Road Research, are investigating new methods for determining frost depth as well as looking for improved data transfer protocols. These improved data transfer protocols were well suited for testing the R/WIS communication protocol.

Mn/DOT pavement research in combination with the R/WIS initiative allows us to meet the needs for initial testing of the R/WIS communication system in addition to field testing various instruments used for measuring frost depth in pavement structures. By accurately determining the frost depth and effectively disseminating this information to maintenance personnel and decision makers we can reduce the damage to pavements due to increased winter loads and spring thaw weakening. By reducing the damage during these critical periods we stand to significantly reduce maintenance costs.