In 2009, SmartSensor HD units were installed by researchers from the Oregon Institute of Technology's Traffic Engineering Laboratory to assess the system's effectiveness.

January 20, 2010

PROVO, UT—Transportation experts in Oregon have completed a study evaluating a system designed to provide drivers with advance notice of icy conditions on mountain roads. The study utilized the per vehicle speed capabilities of SmartSensor HD to determine if drivers are heeding warnings and reducing their speeds.

Southern Oregon's Highway 140 is an east-west corridor prone to ice, and it has been the site of numerous ice-related crashes. In 2005, the Oregon Department of Transportation installed the warning system, which consists of several different sensors monitoring wind direction and speed, moisture levels, temperatures, and pavement conditions; and beacon signs strategically placed at points in advance of known problem areas. When the weather sensors detect certain conditions, the beacon lights on the signs are activated, telling drivers to watch for ice.

In 2009, SmartSensor HD units were installed by researchers from the Oregon Institute of Technology's Traffic Engineering Laboratory to assess the system's effectiveness. The study found that speeds were significantly reduced when the beacon lights were on, by as much as 9.5 miles per hour. "Since speed reduction is the primary goal of the system, data suggests that the beacons are fulfilling their intended purpose," the study concluded.

As a follow up to the study, researchers also surveyed drivers in the area and found that almost 92 percent of drivers expressed confidence in the system. Nearly 88 percent of drivers said they drove slower when the beacon lights were on, and 85 percent of respondents claimed the warnings made them more attentive to road conditions. Further study of crash statistics is being done to see if there has been a corresponding drop in accidents.

Wavetronix was represented in the study by Advanced Traffic Products of Everett, Washington, an authorized Wavetronix distributor.