California Oregon Advanced Transportation Systems (COATS) Update - April 20th, 2015


UPDATE: Monday, April 20th, 2015

COATS Phase 6 is facilitating ongoing technology transfer through the Western States Forum and continued demonstration and evaluation of ITS technologies through several incubator projects. The Western States Rural Transportation Consortium (WSRTC) states of California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada have identified the following incubator projects for further demonstration of ITS technologies in a rural context. This will provide benefit for stakeholders both within and outside the COATS region. Quarterly progress on these projects is outlined below:

Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum

During the first quarter of 2015, planning continued for the annual Forum, a meeting focused on providing technology transfer and networking opportunities for professionals working in design, implementation and maintenance of ITS technologies in rural environments.

Sean Campbell of Caltrans presents “Commercial Wholesale Web Portal 2: Providing Caltrans’ Traveler Information Data to Third Party Developers” at the 2014 WSF.

Photo by Doug Galarus.

Abstracts for Forum presentations were selected midway through the quarter. This year’s agenda will feature presenters from six states, covering a diverse array of subjects in rural ITS. First drafts of presentations were received and reviewed at the end of the quarter. The project team continued work on the various logistics of the Forum event. Planning for meals and networking activities continued, and a registration brochure was distributed via mail and electronically. Web presence was updated to reflect the latest information about the 2015 Forum.

In the upcoming quarter, second drafts of Forum presentations will be reviewed, additional feedback will be sent to presenters, and final versions will be due a month before the Forum. The final agenda will be set and participant notebooks will be created. General event organization and planning, including meals, networking activities, and travel reimbursement will continue.

The 10th Annual Forum will be held in Yreka, California, June 16th-18th, 2015. For more information about the 2015 Forum, visit the Forum website at

Year 1 Incubator Projects 

During the first year of the COATS 6 effort, the research team will complete two incubator projects - low-cost research efforts that serve as a “proof of concept” to potentially develop into a larger effort in the future or answer research questions in a limited scope. Progress on these incubator projects is described below.

Technology Incubator: Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information: An Analysis of Existing System Best Practices

Data quality is an important consideration for the provision of traveler information. It has generally been handled on an ad-hoc basis, with little or no provision for error notification other than perhaps through user-reporting of observed errors. In light of this, the goal of this project is to analyze and document existing system best practices for data quality for the aggregation and dissemination of state department of transportation traveler information.

Surveys were conducted with individuals from the following DOT’s: California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Preliminary contacts were made with personnel at the Colorado and Wyoming DOT’s. Arizona and New Mexico DOTs were also contacted via an introductory email.

In the oncoming quarter, interviews will be sought with representatives of the Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming state DOTs. The project team will compile a draft report on the state of the practice for traveler information data quality.

Safety/Operations Incubator: Evaluation of the Fredonyer Summit Icy Curve Warning System –Before and After Study of Long-Term Effectiveness

The Fredonyer Pass Icy Curve Warning System (ICWS) was deployed by Caltrans on State Highway 36 to increase driver vigilance and reduce the number of crashes occurring during icy pavement conditions in real-time.  An initial evaluation performed during the COATS Phase 4 project evaluated the short term (1 ½ years) performance of the system following its deployment in the winter of 2008-2009.  For this incubator project, the research team will examine the speed and crash trends for the system over the longer term (2008-2009 to 2014-2015 winter seasons).

Work on this project included acquisition of speed, safety, weather and chain control datasets.  Data processing activities, namely quality control and formatting for speed and weather data were completed.  Initial analysis of the 2010 through 2014 seasons of speed data was also completed, with results showing similar trends to those observed during the initial 2008 through 2010 analysis. 

Work during the next quarter will include the speed data analysis (including acquisition of remaining 2014-15 winter season data), crash data analysis and interviews with ITS, maintenance and highway patrol staff, with draft report development to follow.

Year 2 Incubator Projects 

Bluetooth Evaluation for Siskiyou Summit Chain-Control Chain-Up Area North of Redding

For this incubator project, the research team will utilize Bluetooth readers to develop a preliminary prototype algorithm to predict delays through a chain-up area.

Activities this quarter included wrapping up vendor inquiries and summarizing results in a document entitled, “Prospective Deployment Recommendations and Sources for Bluetooth Readers.” This document was sent to Caltrans midway through the quarter and included a summary of prior recommendations for equipment deployment locations.

Further work on this project is deferred pending Caltrans’ review of the deployment recommendations and sources document.

Long-Term Operational and Safety Impacts of Radar Speed Signs

More information about this project will be posted when work begins in Year 2.

Check back next quarter to read more about the progress and status of the COATS projects.