Dust storm detection and notification research funded
Periodic dust storms in the southwestern region of New Mexico present significant safety hazards to motorists. The New Mexico Department of Transportation identified the need to automate an incident management process that is currently being performed manually. Ruinian Jiang, from the department of engineering technology and surveying engineering, has been awarded a contract by NMDOT to find and deploy an automated system that will notify motorists of limited visibility conditions and direct motorists how to respond during dust storms. The total amount of the contract is $225,000 for three years, starting from February 2012. Ruinian Jiang and Sonya Cooper will lead the project.
Two phases of this project were completed earlier. In Phase I, a needs assessment and equipment survey was performed. In Phase II, equipment recommended in Phase I was purchased, installed, and preliminarily evaluated, and training for operation was conducted. The new contract (phase III) will conduct a long-term evaluation of the system, verify the performance of the equipment and find the best way to alert the motoring public when a dust storm is imminent or present. The site of this research is Interstate 10, from Milepost 5 to Milepost 15 in NMDOT District 1, Animas Dry Lake area.