Road Surface Temperature Sensors

What Are Road Surface Temperature Sensors?

Road surface temperature sensors are a commonly used tool in areas that experience ice and snow. They use infrared lasers directed at the road surface to measure the conditions of the roadway.

They can monitor:

  • Moisture levels
  • Type of precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, hail)
  • Pavement temperature, etc.

This data is then fed into an algorithm to calculate the coefficient of friction for that roadway. Road data can also be combined with weather data to provide a more complete picture of overall driving conditions.

Teconer and Vaisala road sensors: Photos courtesy of and

*Photos courtesy of (left), (right)

Road Weather Information System (RWIS)

RWIS is a centralized hub where private sensor vendors (such as Vaisala and Teconer) send their road data. Here, it is combined with atmospheric and water level data to calculate “nowcasts” and forecasts of driving conditions for a certain area. This information is extremely useful to road management agencies.

It helps teams:

Mobile Sensors

Some organizations also mount these sensors onto fleet vehicles so they can cover more ground. This allows road managers to see how conditions vary across certain areas, identify vulnerable spots, and re-calibrate their snow fighting approach. 

Safety and Financial Benefits of Road Sensors

Using sensors to calculate road friction levels is not only important for public safety, it can save municipalities a lot of money. Over-applying deicing treatments wastes resources, stretches personnel hours, and can also put unnecessary strain on the environment. Friction sensors help teams target ice and snow instead of broadly applying the same deicing strategy to an entire area.

Road friction sensors save money

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) discovered that using sensors to calculate road friction saved them $180,000 in a single winter!

• Click here to read more about how sensors saved lives and money for CDOT.

Ice Slicer’s® Road Sensor Partnerships

Ice Slicer® is proud to partner with snow fighters and road safety organizations to save lives, and give teams the best deicing tools possible. We are teaming up with Montana State University, The Western Transportation Institute, and the Utah Department of Transportation to take road friction testing even further.

Using fixed and mobile vaisala sensors, we help teams conduct real-world tests on road surfaces to provide side by side comparisons for different road treatment products. These tests show organizations how products perform under their local weather conditions instead of just in a lab.

Here is an example of a real world, side by side friction test conducted in Fargo, North Dakota.

Deicer road friction comparison test

As you can see, this test was conducted under natural winter storm conditions. Ice Slicer's® high performance returned Fargo’s roads to safe traction levels 3.5 hours faster than treated white road salt, and with 40% less product!

© 2023 Redmond Minerals Inc.

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