The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 238 [Active (IDEA)]

Low-Cost Sensing System for the Detection and Classification of Super Single Wheel Types and Distribution at the Network Level
[ NCHRP 20-30 (NCHRP-IDEA) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $135,000
Staff Responsibility: Inam Jawed
Research Agency: Michigan State University
Principal Investigator: Syed Waqas Haider
Fiscal Year: 2021

This project will develop and test a low-cost novel sensing system to detect and classify wide-base tire (WBT) types and their distributions and demonstrate the usefulness of the system for data collection for pavement analysis and design applications. The work will be carried out in two stages. Stage 1 work will focus on developing and testing prototypes of a novel low-cost sensing system that can detect tire widths, wheel wander, and truck/axle configurations at highway speeds. A prototype of piezoelectric-based pressure transducers encapsulated in a special epoxy ready for embedment in pavement structures or temporary surface attachment will be developed. These transducers will constitute the basic components for the proposed sensing strip in the outer lane in one direction. The sensors can respond to very high-speed signals with a wake-up time in microseconds. The device will respond to applied pressure by the tires at highway speeds (>70 mph). After developing and testing the sensing system in the laboratory, verification tests will be conducted at a local parking lot and the university campus roads. Tests are also planned tests at Minnesota’s MnROAD facility to verify the validity of the detection using the controlled truck traffic. Work in Stage 2 will involve field evaluation and validation of the developed prototype system. The system will be installed in the field adjacent to several WIM locations. The application of the system will be demonstrated by analyzing field data to identify (a) the type and frequency of various super single tires (WBT) on a particular route, (b) lateral distribution of wheels in the wheel-path (i.e., wheel wander), and (c) axle load spectra for WBT vs. conventional dual tires. Stage 2 will also involve field data collection in Michigan and Minnesota to demonstrate the sensor system’s practicality and obtain feedback from state DOTs. At least 2-3 sites will be selected in these states, preferably adjacent to a WIM sensor, and the sensor system will be installed for data collection for at least 1-5 days in the outer lane. Data will be collected on the tire width, the exact number of tires per axle, and their position along the cable (position along the lane). The information will be used to classify tire types (i.e., WBT vs. dual); it will also precisely measure the wheel wander. The obtained data will be synthesized to show the usefulness of the developed sensor system by summarizing (a) differences in axle load spectra (ALS) -- single and tandem axles for dual tires and WBTs; (b) wheel wander distributions; and (c) vehicle classes compared from the existing WIM system and the sensor for each site. A life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) of the sensing system will be performed. The final report will provide all relevant data, methods, models, and conclusions, along with guidance on using the system to collect WBT data by state DOTs.

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