WTI project wins award for intelligent transportation technology

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways September 26, 2014 14:50

WTI project wins award for intelligent transportation technology


The One-Stop Shop for Traveller Information, a website that integrates weather and road information from multiple Western states developed at Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute (WTI), won an international award from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

One-Stop Shop for Traveler Information was one of two WTI projects to be nominated as finalists for Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) Best New Innovative Practice awards. OSS, as the project is called, won in Research, Design and Innovation category. The other WTI nominee, the Automated Safety Warning System Controller (ASWSC) project, was a finalist in the Rural ITS Project category. ITS America presents these awards to “the most prominent and innovative transportation technology leaders in the Americas.” OSS was announced as the winner at the ITS World Congress in Detroit earlier this month.

Both projects represent the best of what is possible at WTI, said Doug Galarus, senior research scientist and manager of WTI’s Systems Engineering, Integration and Development Program. A university transportation centre focused on rural transportation issues, WTI is a collaborative research partnership involving MSU’s College of Engineering, the Montana Department of Transportation and California’s Caltrans, which serves the nation’s most populous state.

“The recognition from ITS on both of these projects is a welcome honour for all the hard work from everyone involved at MSU, as well as all those at the Caltrans Division of Research, Innovation and System Information, Caltrans District 2 and the Western States Rural Transportation Consortium,” Galarus said. “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 ensuring and enhancing the safety of the travelling public.”

Galarus said OSS, which provides travellers in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada with access to a variety of route-oriented, real-time and near real-time traveller information in a single website location, will be expanded later this fall to include Montana and the other Rocky Mountain states.

Unlike websites for state transportation departments, the OSS provides travellers with current road information that does not stop at jurisdictional boundaries. Combined with real-time weather information, the OSS provides motorists with a seamless decision-making tool for maintaining and enhancing traveller safety and mobility. In operation since 2011, OSS is recognized as a pioneering effort, and was the first modern, web-based, multi-state traveller information portal of its kind in the western United States, Galarus said.

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,” said Ian Turnbull, chief of the Office of ITS Engineering and Support in Caltrans District 2. “It is ahead of the curve in keeping the decision making intelligence close to the action – on the roadside.”

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways September 26, 2014 14:50