11B.4 The Pikalert® Vehicle Data Translator – Updates and Applications

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 11:45 AM
Room 355 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Amanda R. S. Anderson, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and G. Wiener, S. Linden, W. Petzke, G. N. Guevara, B. C. Boyce, and P. Pisano

With approximately 4,700 fatalities every year occurring on the roads in adverse weather conditions and billions of dollars in economic impacts, diagnosing hazardous road conditions and alerting drivers to their presence is an important yet small field in the atmospheric science community. Due to the microscale nature of many road hazards, it is imperative to collect fine resolution data to support assessments of road conditions, as well as translate and disseminate that data in a useful format for the drivers and decision makers. To that end, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has been partnering with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to develop, test, and deploy a system of applications to quality control and aggregate connected vehicle data as well as deliver that data to applications to support decision making.

This work has yielded The Pikalert Vehicle Data Translator (VDT), which quality checks and aggregates vehicle observations along with ancillary weather data (such as radar reflectivity) to provide a data set of road observations to the end user. The Pikalert system includes a Road Weather Hazard module component, which takes the vehicle observations and other weather data from the VDT output and produces assessments of precipitation, pavement, and visibility hazards, e.g., heavy rain or snow-covered roads. The Pikalert system has been running in real time as part of the Integrated Mobile Observations (IMO) project in partnership with the Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada Departments of Transportation (DOTs), who have been providing connected vehicle data into the system and using and evaluating the Pikalert outputs. Along with Pikalert, two applications were developed and run as part of the IMO project: the Enhanced Maintenance and Decision Support System (EMDSS) and the Motorist Advisory and Warning (MAW) application. The EMDSS builds on prior success of the federal prototype MDSS system to provide the user with segment-by-segment (one mile) forecasts of weather and road conditions along with suggested road treatments to maintain mobility. The MAW application also provides segment-by-segment current weather assessments and forecast road conditions for the purpose of route planning and driver advisories. A phone application with audio alerts allows a driver en route to be alerted to approaching road weather hazards.

This presentation will focus on enhancements to the Pikalert system and applications over the past year as well as additional applications of Pikalert by the Alaska and Colorado DOTs. Pikalert was also used as part of a project to assimilate vehicle observations into a numerical weather prediction model for forecast improvement.

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