GIS tool to measure performance of winter highway operations
Adams, Teresa M.
Midwest Regional University Transportation Center
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A five-year research effort (fifth-year funding through MRUTC) culminated in development, implementation, and installation of a GIS application for assessing performance of winter highway applications. The software accepts data recorded on board winter maintenance vehicles during operations and combines it with spatial data representing roadways and vehicle patrol sections. Analysts can then select among a number of performance measures and decision management tools for outputs from the system. Outputs are categorized according to labor, equipment, materials, and map displays that indicate vehicle routes and data collected along the way. The software, full user documentation, and necessary spatial databases were installed in two Wisconsin county highway department offices and at Wisconsin DOT headquarters. Training was provided to staff. The spatial databases were developed, and scrutinized for quality, by the research team from data provided by the counties. FGDC-standard metadata were included with the spatial databases. Documentation of the full system included internal and external technical documentation for the software. Final development of the application required refinement of performance measures, decision management tools, and the user interface. A number of previously unsolved technical problems also needed to be addressed. These included the "map-matching" problem in which moving vehicles must be tracked by roadway and patrol section by registering strings of two-dimensional vehicle coordinates to digital maps (spatial databases). The problem is exacerbated by errors in the coordinates and in the maps. A decision-rule algorithm was developed and tested against a number of available data sets. The algorithm resolves nearly all ambiguities encountered in the data. This algorithm is embedded in the installed version of the software. Testing revealed the limit (1:24,000) on source-scale of the spatial databases, needed to support the application. Future maintenance of both the software and the data raise technical and institutional issues that were identified and described by the research team. Recommendations concerning these issues are included in the final sections of this report.
Automatic vehicle location
Geographic information systems
Global positioning systems