Unmanned Aerial Systems for Transportation Decision Support

Unmanned Aerial Systems for Transportation Decision Support


Principal Investigator: Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne
Funding Agency: USDOT

Project Summary

Commercial remotely sensed datasets have tremendous value for a broad range of transportation-related activities, but their full potential is often constrained by inadequate temporal resolution, poor spatial resolution, and high acquisition costs. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have the potential to overcome these limitations, radically changing the way remote sensing data are used for transportation planning, operations, maintenance, and program development. Contemporary off the shelf UAS are inexpensive to purchase, easy to operate with proper training, rapidly deployable, and provide data with spatial resolutions that cannot be matched by traditional airborne and spaceborne platforms. This supplemental funding will be used to expand the operational capacity of the UAS portion of our project, addressing the needs of state transportation agencies. This project will apply proven UAS acquisition and analytical capabilities in four categorical areas that have been determined to be of high interest by stakeholders: 1) geomorphic assessment, 2) construction management and phasing, 3) resource allocation during disaster response, and 4) cost decision support. We will marry this with a robust outreach and training program that will improve the abilities of state and local transportation planners to integrate UAS data and products into their decision-making and management operations. The activities in all four areas will develop operational solutions with quantifiable results that improve decision making, reduce costs, increase life safety, and provide a measurable impact on existing decision processes, models and resource tasking.

Constr phasing

The above figure provides a sample of data the project team collected at the Morrisville Alternative Truck Route Project in Vermont.  This data was used to calibrate fill calculation models, but will also serve to demonstrate construction phasing and progress.

Project Team

Caesar Singh, Program Manager (PM), US DOT 
Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, Faculty Research Associate and Director of the UVM Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) – Principal Investigator 
Amanda Hanaway-Corrente, Professional Engineer (PE) 
Sean MacFaden, Research Specialist at UVM SAL 
Zachary Borst, Emergency Management at UVM
Jacob Leopold, Administrative Professional at UVM TRC

Technical Advisory Committee

Guy Rouelle, Aviation Program Administrator, Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) 
Johnathan Croft, GIS Database Administrator, VTrans 
Michael Umansky, Applied Imagery 
Charles Hebson, Manager of Surface Water Resources, Maine Department of Transportation (DOT)
Adam Zylka, senseFly
Jason Moghaddas, Spatial Informatics Group
Bryan McBride, Spatial Networks

Project Documents

Technical Proposal
Quarterly Report Guidelines
Task List 

Project Links

None at this time.

Quarterly Reports:

October 2014 through December 2014
January 2015 through March 2015
April 2015 through June 2015

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

None at this time.

Password Protected Documents

None at this time. 

“The views and opinions expressed herein are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of the Commercial Remote Sensing & Spatial Information Technologies Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation, or any of its Operating Administrations.”

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