Road Weather Information System (RWIS)

Road Weather Information System (RWIS)

Environmental Sensor Stations (ESS)

Have you ever noticed equipment next to a highway, which looked like a small weather station, and wondered about its purpose?

These “weather stations” are called environmental sensor stations (ESS). A network of ESS make up a road weather information system (RWIS). The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) is one of many state DOT’s across the country which utilizes RWIS as a tool to obtain road weather information and aid in decision making.

An ESS contains sensors which measure atmospheric and pavement conditions at locations across North Dakota. Here are some examples of data which can be obtained from ESS:

Atmospheric data:

  • Air temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Visibility distance
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Precipitation type and rate
  • Radiation
  • Barometric pressure

Pavement data:

  • Pavement temperature
  • Pavement condition (Ex: wet, icy)
  • Pavement friction
  • Pavement images
  • Subsurface temperature

Environmental sensor stations are also available for public use. Click the link on this page to view the NDDOT RWIS map. ESS will appear as triangles on the RWIS map, as shown in the image below.

Road Weather Information System (RWIS) Map

Example image of New Town Camera during a winter storm