Supporting Transportation System Management and Operations Using Internet of Things Technology

Report No: 21-R24

Published in 2021

About the report:

Low power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology aims to provide long range and low power wireless communication. It can serve as an alternative technology for data transmissions in many application scenarios(e.g., parking monitoring and remote flood sensing). In order to explore its feasibility in transportation systems, this project conducted a review of relevant literature to understand the current status of LPWAN applications. An online survey that targeted professionals concerned with transportation was also developed to elicit input about their experiences in using LPWAN technology for their projects. The literature review and survey results showed that LPWAN’s application in the U.S. is still in an early stage. Many agencies were not familiar with LPWAN technology, and only a few off-the-shelf LPWAN products are currently available that may be directly used for transportation systems. To conceptually explore data transmission, a set of lab tests, using a primary LPWAN technology, namely LoRa, were performed on a university campus area as well as in a rural area. The lab tests showed that several key factors, such as the mounting heights of devices, distance between the gateway and sensor nodes, and brands of devices affected the LPWAN’s performance. Building upon these efforts, the research team proposed a high-level field test plan for facilitating a potential Phase 2 study that will address primary technical issues concerning the feasibility of transmitting data of different sizes, data transmission frequency, and transmission rate, deployment requirements, etc.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Hong Yang, Ph.D., Yuzhong Shen, Ph.D., Mecit Cetin, Ph.D., Zhenyu Wang, Ph.D.

Last updated: November 9, 2023

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