Learn more about digital message signs and other monitoring systems

  • The different types of monitoring stations we use
  • What we use to determine highway conditions
  • How we inform the public of highway conditions
  • How we collect traffic data
  • How we do work in remote areas

How we monitor the Yukon’s highway network

We use many kinds of data collection and monitoring systems throughout the territory. Together, they’re called intelligent transportation systems (ITS). ITS describes the use of technology in transportation applications. These include:

  • computers;
  • sensors;
  • control systems;
  • communications; and
  • other electronic devices.

This technology often help to save lives, time, money, energy and the environment.

  1. The different types of monitoring stations we use

    We use many different ITS devices to collect, send and present information. This information provides highway travellers with relevant information, such as the locations of:

    • incidents;
    • weather;
    • hazards, whether environmental or otherwise; and
    • road conditions.

    The data collected by these systems is also used to plan highway maintenance and improvement projects.

  2. What we use to determine highway conditions

    Road weather information systems (RWIS)

    A miniature road weather information system along the Dempster Highway.

    These systems collect real-time weather data across the highway network,


    • air and road surface temperatures;
    • wind speeds; and
    • humidity.

    Some stations also have frost-depth and water-level detection systems.


    Stations are also outfitted with cameras. These cameras provide real-time images you can see on the 511 Yukon website.

    We use the data from this system to inform drivers and road maintenance personnel of:

    • changing weather; and
    • road conditions.

    There are currently 24 RWIS stations in service in the Yukon.


    Frost-depth monitoring systems

    These systems measure sub-surface temperatures. This data informs decisions about seasonal weight restrictions on the Yukon’s highways.

    Water-level detection systems

    These systems measure and detect water levels under bridges, and:

    • provide early warning for potential safety hazards, such as flooding; and
    • alert highway maintenance staff.

  3. How we inform the public of highway conditions

    Traveller information systems

    A portable digital message sign advising motorists that there are caribou in the area.

    These systems provide real-time information to travellers. Systems such as RWIS collect this information and share it through:

    • 511 Yukon; and
    • a network of digital message signs (DMS) located along the highways.

    Right now, the territory has in operation:

    • 20 fixed DMS, including 4 cantilevered DMS on the Alaska Highway near Whitehorse; and
    • 33 trailer DMS.

  4. How we collect traffic data

    Traffic monitoring systems

    A traffic classifier radar - an example of one of our Traffic Monitoring Systems.

    These systems collect traffic data across the highway network. This includes vehicle counts, speeds and classification – like whether the vehicle is a passenger car or heavy truck.

    To gather traffic information across the Yukon’s 4,800 kilometres of highway, we use a combination of:

    • permanent counting systems; and
    • temporary counting systems.

    The data collected helps to inform:

    • traffic-operation decisions; and
    • maintenance and improvement planning.

  5. How we do work in remote areas

    Remote power and communications

    Many ITS devices in the Yukon need to be installed in very remote areas that are:

    • outside of cell coverage; and
    • have no direct access to power distribution.

    To operate the devices and connect them to the network in these areas, we use a combination of:

    • remote power solutions like solar energy, fuel cells and batteries; and
    • satellite-based communication solutions.