Improved Approach to Enforcement of Road Weight Restrictions

Principal Investigator(s):

Rajesh Rajamani, Professor, Chair, Mechanical Engineering

Project summary:

This project focused on the enhancement and evaluation of a battery-less wireless weigh-in-motion (WIM) sensor for improved enforcement of road weight restrictions. The WIM sensor is based on a previously developed vibration energy harvesting system, in which energy is harvested from the vibrations induced by each passing vehicle to power the sensor. The sensor was re-designed in this project so as to reduce its height, allow it to be installed and grouted in an asphalt pavement, and protect the piezo stacks and other components from heavy shock loads. Two types of software interfaces were developed in the project: (a) an interface from which the signals could be read on the MnDOT intranet, and (b) an interface through a wireless handheld display.

Tests were conducted at MnRoad with a number of test vehicles, including a semi tractor-trailer at various speeds from 10 to 50 mph. The sensor had a monotonically increasing response with vehicle weight. There was significant variability in sensor response from one test to another, especially at the higher vehicle speeds. This variability could be attributed to truck suspension vibrations, since accelerometer measurements on the truck showed significant vibrations, especially at higher vehicle speeds. MnDOT decided that the final size of the sensor was too big and could pose a hazard to the traveling public if it got dislodged from the road. Hence the task on evaluation of the sensor at a real-world traffic location was abandoned and the budget for the project correspondingly reduced.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2012005
  • Start date: 09/2011
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Wireless Communication Systems

Reports or Products: