Road Weather and Operations
Safe mobility in Iowa’s extreme weather conditions relies on accurate and timely data provided both to Iowa DOT maintenance crews and the public, allowing them to make better travel decisions during inclement weather.
In recent years, the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and Research and Innovative Technology Administration joined forces to promote safety, mobility, and improve the environment of the nation’s surface transportation system through a new connected vehicle initiative. This initiative aims to enable wireless communications among vehicles, the infrastructure, and passengers' personal communication devices. The long-term goal for connected vehicles includes the collection of vehicular and environmental status data by millions of passenger and commercial vehicles.
In working with our federal partners, the National Center for Atmospheric Research has developed the Pikalert System to ingest and quality-check these vehicle observations, and then combine the vehicle data with more traditional weather data (e.g. radar, satellite) to assess road condition and road hazard information.
Timely, safe, and efficient winter travel is a high priority for the Iowa DOT. The National Center for Atmospheric Research worked with the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University to enhance and deploy the Pikalert system in Iowa.
This project integrates weather, vehicle, and roadway data and provides roadway weather forecast capabilities 72 hours in advance for all Iowa DOT primary roadway segments. With the web-based Pikalert tool in place, our agency activities will focus on providing system support over the winter, analyzing Pikalert performance and accuracy, obtaining user feedback, and making minor enhancements to the interface.