Rural Intelligent Transportation System Natural-Hazard Management on Low-Volume Roads

Rand Decker, Robert Rice, Steve Putnam, Stanford Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The growth of winter travel on alpine roads in the western United States has increased the risk to motorists and highway maintenance personnel owing to a variety of natural hazards. Hazards include snow and ice, avalanching snow, and blowing and drifting snow. The conditions call for attendant need for incident response. A substantial number of affected routes are low-volume rural winter roads. Configurations have been developed for rural intelligent transportation system (ITS) technology that can detect hazards and provide, autonomously and in real time, warnings to and traffic control actions for motorists, highway maintainers, and incident responders for roadway natural hazards. These warnings include on-site traffic control signing and road closure gates, in-vehicle audio alarms for agency maintenance and patrol vehicles, and notification to highway agency maintenance facilities or centralized multiagency dispatchers. These actions and notifications are initiated automatically from the remote rural sites and via manual intervention from off-site personnel, well removed from the rural roadway corridor itself. About 5 years of experience have been accumulated in using these rural ITS natural-hazard reduction systems, including snow avalanche detection and warning systems on Loveland Pass, Colorado; Hoback Canyon, Wyoming; and Banner Summit, Idaho. Automated road closure gates on the Teton Pass in Idaho and Wyoming now allow for remote road closure during heavy snow events. These cost-effective ITS natural-hazard systems are highly exportable for other processes that affect rural low-volume roadways, including landslide, flooding, high surf, high winds, loss of visibility, wildlife, and other natural hazards of this type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-259
Number of pages5
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1819
StatePublished - 2003
EventEight International Conference on Low-Volume Roads 2003 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2003Jun 25 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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