Center for Safety Equity in Transportation

rural • isolated • tribal • indigenous

Improved Safety for Winter Travel along Minimally Improved Routes

  • Active

    CSET Project #: 2011

    Project Funding: Kawerak and AKDOT&PF

  • Start Date: August 2020

    End Date: July 2022

    Budget: $141000

Principal Investigator(s)

Billy Connor

Billy G. Connor, PE, retired from the Alaska DOT&PF after 30 years of service. He spent twenty years in AKDOT&PF’s research branch as a research engineer, ten of these as the Chief of Research for the department. His work covered a wide range of transportation activities including developing Alaska’s pavement design procedures, pavement management, maintenance and forensic engineering, permafrost, frost heave and thaw weakening research, hydraulic research including fish passage, rip rap design and development of Alaska’s Hydraulic Manual, and numerous other transportation related activities. 

Mr. Connor regularly provides training to transportation professionals in project management, permafrost design and construction, roadway design, construction and management.  He also provides training to rural Alaska village administrators in dust management techniques and road maintenance. He is also working with the Alaska DOT&PF to improve its workforce development program.

Over the last 12 years Mr Connor has been the director of the Alaska University Transportation Center.  During that time he was the director of a National University Transportation Center.  He has continued to perform research in dust management of gravel roads and airfields, permafrost research, construction management, development of a Maintenance Decision Support System for the Alaska Department of Transportation, the use of geosynthetics, development of stabilization of sands and fine grained soils and other diverse research projects.

Project Summary

Weather conditions can severely restrict the transportation mobility and accessibility of rural Alaskan villages. Winter storms and blowing snow also pose several transportation safety issues and forces many residents to remain isolated in their communities during the winter months. A few residents per village may have the experience/wherewithal (colloquially referred to as “travelers”) to venture out on the road and winter route systems to engage in socially critical interactions with other communities/villages. This travel is facilitated by the existence of route markers along predefined and preferred overland routes.

This project has three goals

  •          Develop a reliable, low maintenance foundation for the route markers developed by Kawerak.
  •          Install and test a Remote Weather Information System (RWIS) to provide weather information along the route
  •          Count the number of users of the route system