Data Collection via CRS&SI Technology to Determine when to Impose SLR

Heavy trucking can damage roadways, see on the left. Because of this, load limits are set in place during frost/thaw seasons. Hobo sensors can be used to determine subsurface temperatures which will help impose limits on load sizes and impose trafic regluations to protect the road surface during frost and thaw periods.

Our team works in collaboration with state DOTs in order to create a Decision Support System which will connect data collection and roadway monitoring.

About the project

Sponsored by the USDOT's RITA, a research team of scientists and engineers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) are collaborating with the USDA Forest Service, the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) and the New Hampshire DOT, to develop a new experimental system that monitors subsurface roadway health conditions in real time during the critical spring thaw and recovery periods. Collected subsurface temperature data determines whether roads are vulnerable to damage by heavy vehicular traffic. State DOTs restrict heavy vehicles from using the roads by imposing seasonal load restrictions (SLR) during these short critical spring thaw periods. Currently, subsurface temperature data is collected manually at numerous roadside sites, and a tedious processing procedure occurs to determine the depth of frost and thaw penetration. This research project will eliminate manual data collection and replace it with state-of-the-art commercial remote sensing and spatial information (CRS&SI) technology for real time data transfer via satellite. The project entitled 'Data Collection via CRS&SI Technology to Determine when to Impose SLR' will be the first time State DOTs in New England use CRS&SI technologies to collect subsurface temperature data.

A Decision Support System (DSS) will be placed on a server, connected to the data collection technologies and complemented by a project website. It will also contain data automated processing tools. Because the DSS will determine when to effectively impose SLRs, it will assist State DOTs in minimizing road damage and road maintenance costs. Additionally, it will prevent imposition of SLRs at inappropriate times, minimizing inconvenience to drivers and minimizing fuel costs to the commercial vehicle industry that often must reroute deliveries. By using CRS&SI technology, State DOTs will also eliminate the manual collection of subsurface temperature data. Centralizing data will simplify its processing, thus making them less tedious and more automated. Although the DSS will primarily be used for monitoring, it is anticipated that State DOTs and the commercial vehicle industry will expand the DSS with other applications and use it for training.