Low‐Cost, Distributed, Sensor‐based Weigh‐in‐Motion Systems

Monitoring truck weights is essential for traffic operations, roadway design, traffic safety, and regulations. Traditional roadside static truck weighing stations have many operational shortcomings, and so there have been ongoing efforts to develop and implement Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) systems to make vehicle weight monitoring and enforcement more automatic, unobtrusive, and cost-effective. Current WIM systems typically rely on a transverse, instrumented beam installed in the roadway itself, which then can act as a transducer system whose response can be related to vehicle weights via calibration and basic principles. These systems work reasonably well, but they are still relatively costly to install and maintain since they require nontrivial modification of the roadway itself, and there are limitations on where and when they can be installed. The work aims to investigate an approach to WIM systems that can greatly reduce costs and increase flexibility and reliability by using the fact that the unmodified roadway pavement/foundation subsystem itself can be viewed as a transducer system amenable to direct characterization and calibration. Rather than using a relatively expensive, obtrusive single sensor system, the proposed approach would use a large number of inexpensive, self-powered, unobtrusive wireless sensor devices that would work together at a given location to achieve reasonably accurate vehicle weight measurement without modifying the roadway itself. The fundamental technologies and theoretical building blocks underlying the proposed approach all exist, but research is needed to answer a number of technical and practical questions to enable the development of a deployable system. To this end, the authors propose the development of both virtual and physical prototype systems that they will use to investigate the feasibility, suitability, accuracy, and generality of the proposed technology as a future heavy vehicle weight monitoring system.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    TransNow, Transportation Northwest

    University of Washington, Department of Civil Engineering
    129 More Hall, Box 352700
    Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700

    Washington State Department of Transportation

    310 Maple Park Avenue, SE, P.O. Box 47300
    Olympia, WA  United States  98504

    Office of the Secretary of Transportation

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Miller, Gregory
    • Wang, Yinhai
    • ORCID 0000-0002-4180-5628
    • Mackenzie, Peter
    • Farrar, Genevieve
    • Chuang, Chia-So
  • Publication Date: 2009-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Research Report
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 29p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152885
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TNW2009-15
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0010 (Grant)
  • Created Date: Mar 19 2010 8:47AM