• Investigation of Drone Applications to Improve Traffic Safety in RITI Communities

      Ban, Xuegang (Jeff); Abramson, Daniel; Zhang, Yiran; Cano-Calhoun, Cristina (2021-06-30)
      Transportation and traffic safety is a primary concern among the Rural, Isolated, Tribal, or Indigenous (RITI) communities in the U.S. Although emerging technologies (e.g., connected and 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. This research aims to explore, understand, and synthesize the opportunities and challenges of applying drone technologies to alleviate or resolve traffic safety and emergency related issues within RITI communities. The project team first sent out online surveys to communities on the outer Pacific coast of Washington State and selected the City of Westport as the study area based on the feedback. A pilot study using drones for mapping and sensing in Westport was then conducted, followed by two community meetings to explore potential drone applications. With the three outreach activities, it was found that the current need in the communities was education on drones, including training for remote pilot certification (drone license) and drone operations. Findings of this research will help guide the project team to set up specific drone-related programs in the Westport area in future research.