Transport Scotland Trial Exactrak’s Innovative Road Condition Monitor
Over a three week period in March 2014, Transport Scotland and Scotland TranServ trialed Exactrak’s innovative road condition monitoring technology. This was fitted to a tow bar of an inspection vehicle which has been running on various routes of the trunk road network. The sensor has solid state technology designed with no moving parts, providing a reliable and robust product for the harsh surrounding environment.
Normally fitted to the front of a gritting vehicle the Exactrak road sensor can measure with pin point accuracy, the road’s condition including, the state of the road (wet, dry or slushy conditions), road surface temperature, air temperature, friction value and, if wet, will give an accurate depth of road surface water.
In a standard gritting application the friction value data along with road surface temperature are used to feed Exactrak’s automated salting system. By using the friction value the system identifies the residual salt on the road and calculates if it requires salting again. The system then deploys salt according to the real-time conditions of the roads rather than salting all sections of the route where it may not be required. This can produce great cost savings across networks that use large volumes of salt per year.
Once the data is received from the device it is then sent back live through the Exactrak GPS package which can be accessed via the Exactrak website. It is also fed into a mobile application which can be viewed by the vehicle driver in real-time.
The data can be shown visually on detailed Ordnance Survey mapping which highlights a snail trail of the route taken by the driver. The snail trail also indicates the road conditions across the routes road surfaces. The indication is depicted by colour on the map, showing areas which are less porous and have held onto the water. These are key areas where grit must be deployed.
The trial has provided in depth daily information with regard to road condition state from dry, moist and wet conditions with the sensor recording some very detailed statistics with regards to depth of water remaining on the road surface up to 1.55mm. Transport Scotland and Scotland TranServe are planning to trial the system again for the coming winter season 2014/15 to review during a representative period of ice and snow conditions.