83rd Annual

Wednesday, 12 February 2003: 3:45 PM
Aurora Program research activities
Michael J. Adams, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Madison, WI
Poster PDF (22.9 kB)
Aurora is an international program of collaborative research, development and deployment in the field of road and weather information systems (RWIS), serving the interests and needs of public agencies. The program, launched in 1996, brings together a number of U.S., Canadian and European agencies, both transportation and meteorological.

The Aurora vision is to deploy RWIS to integrate state-of-the-art road and weather forecasting technologies with coordinated, multi-agency weather monitoring infrastructures. It is hoped this will facilitate advanced road condition and weather monitoring and forecasting capabilities for efficient highway maintenance, and the provision of real-time information to travelers.

Aurora is sponsoring a number of research projects in support of these goals. One such project aims to build a foundation of observation systems to collect, assimilate, and make available ESS data that is based on open system principles, is able to be checked for quality, and can be incorporated and integrated into other observational networks, similar to other sources of weather information.

Aurora is very concerned about sensor standards, and has several projects ongoing in this area. One effort is a compilation of the RWIS specifications being used by member agencies. The goal of this project is to develop a database of Aurora member RWIS construction, maintenance, and forecast specifications.

In addition another Aurora project focuses on the accuracy of various types of pavement temperature sensors. This project will attempt to determine the accuracy and variation in readings of various pavement temperature sensors, both in-pavement and mobile, by first developing a method to determine the "true" pavement temperature for comparison purposes. The goal is to provide agencies information on which sensors provide the most accurate readings, thus enhancing both operations and the quality of the meteorological databases.

Weather forecasts are also an integral component of any RWIS. Aurora is funding a research effort that aims to review the state-of-the-art within the meteorological community in measuring the performance of weather forecasting information, review the current status of RWIS verification efforts by public agencies, establish procedures and parameters which can be used to measure forecast accuracy in any country, and benchmark the accuracy of forecasts provided to member agencies.

Training is key to effective RWIS implementation. To this end, Aurora has provided funding to a project sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Under this project, a comprehensive, interactive training program for winter operations is being developed. The training program will include segments on RWIS, as well as several winter road maintenance techniques that effectively employ the technology. The interactive training will incorporate scenario based training exercises, tutorials, and links to other snow and ice information from around the world.

Supplementary URL: http://www.aurora-program.org/