California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) Update - November 17th, 2016


UPDATE: Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Recently, the project team successfully completed work on the 6th phase of the COATS project. Phase 6 focused on promoting technology transfer, investigating traveler information data quality, and evaluating the Fredonyer Pass Icy Curve Warning System. To learn more about the research and technology transfer activities described below, review the COATS Phase 6 final report or the individual project documents on the COATS Phase 6 documents page.

The Western States Forum continued to serve as a dynamic technology transfer platform, with COATS Phase 6 supporting the 10th and 11th annual Forums. Each year, the Forum has been distinguished by detailed, informative technical presentations and demonstrations that describe how actual rural ITS solutions were developed. Speakers share successes, problems, and failures so participants learn what does and doesn’t work and why. Individual participation at the Forum shows its growth and success. Starting with 15 in 2006, the 2016 Forum saw a record 47 participants. And the Forum continues to attract a diverse audience. Participants in the last two Forums have come from eight different states (CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY), with Utah being a new addition to the list of participant states. Along with the eight different states, attendees represented ten of the 12 Caltrans Districts, Caltrans Headquarters and DRISI, five universities, a city transportation division, the FHWA, and the Idaho National Laboratory.

Participants at the 2016 Western States Forum listen to a presentation.

Photo by Doug Galarus

In addition to the technology transfer completed by the Forum, COATS/WSRTC Project Technical Advisory Panel (PTAP) meetings also provided an opportunity for discussion of current and future ITS activities in the region. Stakeholders were able to meet and guide planning and decision-making related to the COATS project. COATS/WSRTC PTAP members also attended and presented at the National Rural ITS Conference and the 2016 Northwest Transportation Conference. Read more in the updates from October 16, 2015, and April 15, 2016, respectively.

Doug Galarus discusses traveler information data quality at NRITS 2015. Panel member Leann Koon is seated to the right. The COATS/WSRTC PTAP met prior to the 2015 Western States Forum.

Photos by Doug Galarus

Two Incubator Projects were completed under COATS Phase 6: an evaluation of the Fredonyer Pass Icy Curve Warning System, and an analysis of existing system best practices for aggregation and dissemination of DOT traveler information.

The Fredonyer Pass Icy Curve Warning System (ICWS) is a Caltrans project designed to increase motorist vigilance and to reduce the number of crashes occurring when pavement conditions are icy. Using a combination of pavement sensors, RWIS data, and dynamically activated signage, the ICWS alerts motorists of icy conditions on the Fredonyer Pass in real-time. The dynamic warning system allows drivers to adjust their speed in preparation for road conditions further ahead, which is expected to reduce crash rates along the curves of the Pass.

For this safety/operations incubator project, the research team evaluated the effectiveness of the Fredonyer ICWS with a focus on speed reduction under various conditions and safety performance through crash reduction. The study’s results suggest that the warning system is working as intended. To read the final report and review the detailed research results, click here. You can also read more about this task in the COATS project update from February 24th, 2016. The final task report is posted on the COATS Phase 6 documents page and can be found in the WSRTC’s document archive.

The technology incubator project team researched and analyzed existing system best practices for data quality for the aggregation and dissemination of state department of transportation traveler information. The research team documented a number of procedures and considerations relative to disseminating quality traveler information. Results underscored how data quality is crucial to safe, efficient operation of the transportation system, including provision of traveler information that is accurate, timely, and reliable. Detailed results of the practitioner survey and the literature review conducted for this project can be found in the task report – Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information: An Analysis of Existing System Best Practices. The report can be downloaded from the COATS Phase 6 documents page and the WSRTC’s document archive. You can also read more about this research task in the COATS project update from August 22nd, 2016.

Check back soon for an introduction to COATS Phase 7!