• DRONES FOR IMPROVING TRAFFIC SAFETY IN RITI COMMUNITIES IN WASHINGTON STATE

      Ban, Xuegang (Jeff); Abramson, Daniel; Zhang, Yiran (2020-04-04)
      Transportation and traffic safety is a primary concern in Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities in Washington (WA) State. Parallel to this, while emerging technologies (e.g., connected/autonomous vehicles, drones) have been developed and tested in addressing traffic safety issues, they are often not widely shared in RITI communities for various reasons. Compared with other technological advances, drone technologies have been rapidly improved and can be flexibly applied to multiple fields, including engineering, agriculture and disaster managements. The goal of this study is to explore and synthesize the opportunities, challenges and scenarios that drone technologies can assist to resolve traffic safety related issues and concerns in RITI communities. Through the outreach activities with the outer Pacific Coast in WA state, it is found that the principal concern within these communities are disaster management and mitigation since they are facing the threat of coastal erosion, earthquake and tsunami. Thus, the emergency management and hazard mitigation becomes the major way to further explore drone applications in the selected communities. To achieve this, we reviewed the current state of the drone technologies, conducted surveys from National Guard and coastal communities in WA, including City of Westport, South Beach Region, Grays Harbor County, Shoalwater Bay Tribe, and Quinault Indian Nation, to better understand their current needs, challenges and issues. Ultimately, recommendations of drone applications under specific scenarios are provided based upon the integration of drone technologies with community safety needs.