KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As winter storms approach Kansas, supervisors within the state’s department of transportation (KDOT) rely on data from 53 sensors scattered across the state to help strategize how to treat roads so they are safe and convenient for drivers.
The sensors record information like pavement temperature, pavement conditions, air temperature and more.
The data is publicly available on the department’s website. Kansas and other states with similar systems share their information with colleges and universities who study its real-world applications.
Dale Kirmer, from KDOT’s maintenance department, said over the years, information from university research projects has led to adjustments at the state level. For example, Kansas no longer uses sand on the highways. It also uses a salt brine in certain situations as opposed to rock salt, which can reduce the state’s salt usage by up to 30 percent.
“We’re trying to put salt down when you need it, and instead of erring on putting more down, we are using the technology to target when do we need to put the product out there,” Kirmer explained.
The sensors have been in place for about 30 years.