The State of the Practice of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in State Departments of Transportation

This paper presents the results of a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Transportation Center on the current state of the practice of applications of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in State Departments of Transportation (DOTs). As a part of the study, a nationwide survey was conducted to identify and understand how State DOTs have considered and implemented UAS related policies, procedures, and applications in their day to day activities and operations. Similar studies by other research groups were also reviewed and analyzed to determine what State DOTs have done in the area of UAS applications. Based on the results of the nationwide State DOT survey coupled with the review of survey results reported in other studies, it is concluded that the majority of State DOT current and planned UAS activities fall into the following categories: asset management, construction, disaster management, environmental monitoring, infrastructure inspection, surveillance, and traffic operations. The paper also presents recommendations to the MassDOT pertaining to the: a) development of UAS related internal policies and standard operating procedures; and b) design of a UAS pilot program including field based applications for the Divisions of Highways, Mass Transit, and Aeronautics. It is expected that results in this paper will be of interest to the State DOTs as well as UAS stakeholder groups including Federal Aviation Administration, University Transportation Centers, and industry partners as State DOTs move forward to develop departmental policies, operating procedures, and action plans regarding the use of small UASs.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AV060 Standing Committee on Airfield and Airspace Capacity and Delay.
  • Authors:
    • Plotnikov, Michael
    • Ni, Daiheng
    • Collura, John
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2018


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01658583
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 18-03694
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 8 2018 10:55AM