Road Temperature Monitoring

Traditional roadside weather stations are costly to install and maintain, they require a power supply and cellular data connection. As a result, typically only a small number of stations are used to cover large geographic areas. This means that accurate realtime data is not available for much of the critical road network.

The Norfolk County Council (NCC) highways team approached Uniotec with the challenge of providing an alternate approach that would:

  • Reduce the fixed costs associated with maintaining the sensor network
  • Significantly increase the number of stations on the network
  • Significantly increase the granularity of the forecasting model

After an initial meeting with the NCC highways team we were able to agree locations around Great Yarmouth to deploy a small number of bespoke sensors capable of measuring road surface temperature using a probe installed in the road surface.

Our development team were able to provide both a bespoke visualisation platform providing a realtime look at road surface temperatures and an API end point capable of feeding the temperature and associated metadata to their forecasting provider.

Following the success of the initial trial a further roll out was agreed for the west of the county. Additional sensors were deployed, all connecting to LoRaWAN gateways of the ever expanding Norfolk & Suffolk Innovation Network.

The new sensors allow decisions about gritting in King’s Lynn to be made with much more accurate data, reducing the unnecessary treatment of roads in the area.

Contact Temperature Sensor

This sensor is embedded into the road surface, this is done by cutting a slit of road itself and then covering it over once the sensor has been embedded, then the transmitter is attached to a near by post or pole, then periodically its readings are sent back using the LoRa WAN network.

Infra-red Temperature Sensor

Using a infrared sensor, this sensor simply attaches to a near by pole or post and is directed towards the road surface. A unobstructed view of the road surface is needed, This then transmits its readings over the LoRaWAN network at set intervals.

We are now working with Norfolk County Council to deploy a combination of infra-red and contact temperature sensors at even more locations across the county.

Our solution presents an opportunity to dramatically reduce the fixed costs associated with maintaining a road surface temperature network. This in turn provides the opportunity to significantly reduce the distance between weather stations and consequently increase the flexibility of any weather model. The sensors do not require mains power and will operate for up to 5 years before the battery requires replacement.

Norfolk County Council – Internet of Things