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Design and Implementation of a Spread Rate Measurement System
AuthorNagel, William S.
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This thesis details the design and implementation of a granular spread rate measurement system for the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Winter weather maintenance is an important portion of NDOT's budget, exceeding $6 Million annually for the past four years. NDOT is in the process of introducing a Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) to improve the department's level of service and efficiency in material use. For MDSS to be useful for Nevada, the material application done by NDOT needs to be better accounted for. This project investigated the necessary parameters for calculating the material spread by a vehicle and deployed a system capable of measuring those parameters. By estimating the granular material flow rate and detecting the presence of salt and sand in a spreader unit via a proximity sensor, this system demonstrated these material tracking capabilities. Analysis of this data demonstrated the system's capability of estimating total material application (accounting for about 95% of the test vehicle's true application) as well as mapping the location of applied materials when coupled with GPS data. This spread rate measurement system also has the potential to be directly fed back into road condition prediction models to improve their accuracy, or be expanded as a stand-alone data recording system.