Rural intelligent transportation system for snow avalanche detection and warning

Jr Rice R., R. Decker, N. Jensen, R. Patterson, S. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The growth of winter travel on alpine roads in the western United States, a result of the demand for reliable winter access, has increased the hazard to motorists and highway maintenance personnel from snow avalanches. Configurations are presented for systems that can detect and provide, in real time, warnings to motorists and highway maintainers of roadway avalanches. These warnings include on-site traffic control signing, in-vehicle audio alarms for winter maintenance vehicles, and notifying maintenance facilities or centralized agency dispatchers. These avalanche detection and warning systems can detect an existing avalanche and use the avalanche's remaining time of descent to initiate on-site alarms. Alternatively, real-time knowledge and notification of the onset of avalanching may be used to proactively manage the evolving hazard over an affected length or corridor of highway. These corridors can be several tens of kilometers in length and may be very remote, low-volume rural highways. As a consequence, these detection and warning systems must be cost-effective alternatives to existing avalanche hazard reduction technology. Results and experiences from the winters of 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 are presented, along with recommendations and criteria for future deployment of these automated natural hazard reduction systems for rural transportation corridors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages7
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1700
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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