Automated Safety Warning Controller

The Automated Safety Warning Controller (Controller) device is a roadside system that monitors road and weather conditions and updates driver warning systems accordingly. The Controller system informs drivers through changeable message signs or flashing beacons.

California has several automated warning systems on the state highways; however, all the systems to date are unique implementations using one-of-a-kind software for system control with the controller being a custom device only used with that particular project’s physical and electrical layout. Currently there is no standardized automated warning system controller which controls standardized field elements in a system environment. The WTI project team has worked with Caltrans to design and build an automated warning system controller that can be easily configured to acquire sensor data from Roadside Weather Information Systems (RWIS), detection loops, Remote Traffic Microwave Sensors (RTMS) and video detection systems. The controller includes hardware and software interfaces for remote management and data acquisition. In addition, the controller includes extensive programming/scripting capability, allowing for programmed logic implementing the best practice algorithms for condition analysis and identification and corresponding warning signal/message actuation.

Automated Safety Warning Controller (ASWC) project

Recent Updates:

Controller Project Update, 9/18/2014: ASWSC project finalist for 2014 Best of ITS Award Controller Project Update, 1/11/2013: Phase 2 nearing completion Controller Project Update, 4/20/2011: Controller Phase 2 progress Controller Project Update, 9/7/2010: NRITS and Forum Presentations Controller Project Update, 5/26/2010: Site Visit - Spring Garden Controller Project Update, 5/25/2010: Phase 2 Kick-off
ASWSC project finalist for 2014 Best of ITS Award
September 18, 2014
Phase 2 nearing completion
January 11th, 2013
Controller Phase 2 progress
April 20th, 2011
NRITS and Forum Presentations
September 7th, 2010
Site Visit - Spring Garden
May 26th, 2010
Phase 2 Kick-off
May 25th, 2010

Check back soon for more Controller updates.

UPDATE: Thursday, September 18th, 2014

The Automated Safety Warning System Controller (ASWSC) was selected as a finalist for a Best of ITS Award in the category of Best New Innovative Practice – Rural ITS Project. ITS America presents these awards to “the most prominent and innovative transportation technology leaders in the Americas” whose projects exemplify innovation and demonstrate specific and measurable outcomes. The ASWSC project is sponsored by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), who nominated it for the annual award.

The ASWSC is a general purpose system that warns drivers of hazards such as icy curves and high winds. Prior to the ASWSC, warning systems were unique implementations that used one-of-a-kind software for control. Designed from the beginning as an open system, the ASWSC greatly expands the capability of transportation warning systems.

“ASWSC is a fantastic tool that allows us to create effective, reliable and maintainable safety warning systems, especially in remote rural areas. It is ahead of the curve in keeping the decision making intelligence close to the action - on the roadside. It does all this while allowing the integration of our standard ITS field elements so systems are highly maintainable. Excellent work by all involved!” -Ian Turnbull, Chief, Office of ITS Engineering and Support

At the 2014 ITS World Congress in Detroit, the One-Stop Shop project was selected as a Best of ITS Award winner in the Best New innovative Practice – Research Design and Innovation category. You can read about the award in the September 18, 2014, OSS Project update.

“I give full credit for these Systems to our partners at Caltrans. They envisioned the ASWSC and OSS and set us up for successful development and implementation. This was critical to making these systems work properly, and to ensure and enhance the safety of the traveling public. We’re honored and appreciative that Caltrans nominated these projects for these prestigious ITS America awards. Recognition for the One-Stop-Shop as a National “Best of ITS” Winner is a pleasant surprise and a welcome honor for the hard work of all involved! Thanks go to Dan Richter, David Veneziano, Leann Koon and other staff at WTI for their hard work on these projects.” -Doug Galarus, Senior Research Scientist and Program Manager, Systems Engineering, Integration and Development Program, Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University

The One-Stop-Shop and Automated Safety Warning System Controller are collaborative efforts between the Caltrans Division of Research, Innovation, and System Information, Caltrans District 2, the Western Transportation Institute, and the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium.

The ITS World Congress newsletter, Dailynews, officially announced the winners and finalists for the Best of ITS Awards: World Congress rewards outstanding ITS.

Caltrans and Montana State University both published press releases about the awards.
Caltrans: Caltrans presented with National Award at World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Detroit.
Montana State University: WTI project wins award for intelligent transportation technology.

Project Contacts:

Caltrans Project Manager:

Andres Chavez, P.E.
Chief, ITS Special Projects Branch
Caltrans, Division of Research, Innovation,
and System Information
PO Box 942873
Sacramento, CA 94273-0001
(530) 780-6877
andres.chavez "at"

Caltrans Project Champion:

Jeremiah Pearce, P.E.
Chief, Office of ITS Engineering and Support
Caltrans District 2
1657 Riverside Drive
Redding, CA 96001
(530) 225-3320
(530) 225-3255 (fax)
jeremiah.pearce "at"

Principal Investigator:

Douglas Galarus
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
Montana Tech
Museum 202
1300 West Park Street
Butte, MT 59701
(406) 496-4858
dgalarus "at"