This project developed an AVL system for INDOT that utilized the statewide wireless network, SAFE-T. This option was chosen after doing a cost analysis of commercial AVL systems that use cellular data communications. The system developed provides real time information collected during snow and ice removal. Information includes weather and road conditions, truck speed, amount of chemicals spread, time, location, plow position, and road temperature. This information is displayed on INDOT GIS maps available through a browser on the INDOT network. The data is also transferred to the MDSS that INDOT uses in winter activities. This system experienced significant data transfer problems and consequently was eliminated as a viable AVL alternative. Therefore other commercial AVL systems were evaluated in this study.

Other activities included investigating other hardware options for data collection and data transfer. Also, a hotspot method for data transfer was tested to do batch data transfer. A summer AVL application for paint stripping was developed.

Two other commercial systems were evaluated, IWAPI and ThomTech. The IWAPI system was evaluated over three winter seasons and Thomtech for the 08-09 season. Both systems experienced data transfer problems which seems to be the biggest issue with AVL systems. Overall most users were satisfied with how the systems operated and with the information being collected and reported.

The project exposed issues that exist with all types of AVL systems. There are plusses and minuses, and costs and benefits. These are described in the report. One outcome is that AVL systems are not a panacea, they offer better information and benefits, but are they economically justifiable? An internal INDOT study was performed during the 08-09 season that shows a savings of $10,000,000 in salt costs that can be attributed to some degree the use of AVL and MDSS.

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Winter operations, snow and ice, maintenance, snow plow, AVL, MDSS, SPR-2922

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

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