Automated Safety Warning Controller History


Current practice for setting and activating Changeable Message Signs (CMS), Extinguishable Message Signs (EMS), and flashing beacon signs involves manual operation from the Traffic Management Center (TMC). Data from field elements such as RWIS and loop detectors is retrieved by a TMC operator, who decides whether the data from the field elements warrants activation of a CMS, EMS, or flashing beacon. The speed of this process is subject to the efficiency of the TMC operator at retrieving data from numerous locations and deciding where, if at all, to activate a warning or information system. Further note that the TMC is generally not manned 24 hours per day, so there may be “off hours” in which there is further delay in this process. Also, communication lines might not be reliable, particularly during a severe weather event, making communication with remote weather and roadway sensors unreliable.

The goal of developing the Automated Safety Warning Controller was to create a system that frequently and automatically monitors field element data and determines, according to best practice algorithms, if a warning should be activated. The Controller device should be installed near the warning devices it controls, so the system could continue to work even if communication with the TMC is disrupted. The Controller system can also poll weather and roadway sensors much more frequentlyand reliably than a TMC operator and quickly and automatically make the decision whether to activate a warning based on the retrieved information.