Reusable road condition information system for traffic safety and targeted maintenance
Driver awareness of current winter road conditions (RCs) is known to affect the frequency of accidents due to sudden changes in these conditions. For example, partially icy roads that appear during autumn in northern areas typically result in collisions and ditch runs unless the drivers are generally aware of the situation. Availing motorists who drive under winter RCs of enhanced information is therefore highly desirable to increase their awareness of hazardous driving conditions. Such conditions need to be predicted ahead of time and presented to drivers before they attempt slippery road sections. Moreover, the identification of slippery RCs should quickly trigger targeted road maintenance to reduce the risk of accidents. This study presents a scalable and reusable collaborative intelligent transport system, herein referred to as an RC information system (RCIS). RCIS provides accurate RC predictions and forecasts based on RC measurements, road weather observations, and short-term weather forecasts. The prediction methods in the context of the distributed RCIS have been tested using a prototype implementation. These tests confirmed that these inputs could be combined into useful and accurate information about winter RCs that can be adapted for different types of users.