Accelerating solutions for highway safety, renewal, reliability, and capacity Regional Operations Forum Road Weather Management
Session Objectives • Provide high-level awareness of road weather management • Develop awareness of principles and elements associated with modern road weather management • Understand how to implement elements of road weather management
The Road Weather Problem • Safety: • 1.57± million weather-related crashes/year • 7,400 fatalities; 690,000 injuries • 24% of all crashes occurred on slick pavement or under adverse weather • Mobility: 15% of delay caused by bad weather • Productivity: Weather-related delay adds $3.4 billion to freight costs annually • Environment: Chemicals effect watersheds, air quality and infrastructure
Types of Weather • Winter weather • Snow, especially first snow • Blowing and drifting snow • Freezing rain • Rain • Especially heavy rain or first rain • Limited visibility • Fog or dust/sand storms • Frost
Weather Effects on Traffic Operations • Reduced Visibility • Reduced Roadway Friction • Reduced Roadway Capacity • Damaged Infrastructure • Blocked Roadways • Inundated Roadways and Flooding • Coastal Evacuation • Increased Speed Differential • Increased Driver Stress
Weather Data and Information Sources • Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS)—Fixed sensors and mobile sensors • Weather observing systems • Automated Surface Observing Systems (ASOS) — NOAA • Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) —FAA • Both provide the basis for NWS forecasts • MADIS
Road Weather Information System (RWIS) • Environmental sensor stations (ESS) to collect data • A communication system for data transfer • Central server to process data • Dissemination of information to agencies/motorists
Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) • Collect, integrate, quality control, and distribute observations from NOAA and non-NOAA organizations. • Leverages partnerships with multiple partner agencies to integrate observations • Including state departments of transportation • Provides a finer density, higher frequency observational database for use by the greater meteorological community • MADIS runs operationally in real time in the National Weather Service (NWS) • Many states are making RWIS data available to MADIS
Weather Forecasts • All weather observations can improve weather forecasts • The more information, the better • National Weather Service • Private meteorological services • RWIS performs double duty • RWIS information is used directly by maintenance crews, supervisors, and managers • Information from RWIS feeds and improves weather forecasts
Benefits of Reliable Weather Forecasts • Improved resource allocation • Crews sent to the right places at the right times • With the right equipment • With the right treatment material (and the right amount) • Effective resource allocation results in safer roads and reduced costs A key to effective road weather management is timely and accurate forecasts and measurements.
Pavement Condition Prediction • Forecasts of pavement temperatures and conditions • Supporting information for treatment decisions • When and if to treat • What type of treatment to use • Valuable input to maintenance staff for resource allocation
Weather Responsive Traffic Management (WRTM) • Three types of WRTM strategies • Advisory strategies provide information on prevailing and predicted conditions • Posting fog warnings on dynamic message signs • Listing flooded routes on web sites • Control strategies alter the state of roadway devices to permit or restrict traffic • Reducing speed limits with variable speed limit signs • Modifying traffic signal timing based on pavement conditions • Treatment strategies supply resources • Most common treatment strategies are application of sand, salt, and anti-icing chemicals to pavements
Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) • System to support winter maintenance activities • Capitalizes on existing road and weather data sources • Augments data sources where they are weak or where improved accuracy could significantly improve the decision-making task • Fuses data to make an open, integrated, and understandable presentation of current environmental and road conditions • Proactive resource management, equipment management, cost management for highly variable winter operations
MDSS Benefits • Indiana DOT program benefits • Statewide implementation 2009 • Saved 228,000 tons of salt = $12M • Saved 58,000 hours of overtime = $1.4M • One-stop for winter weather information • Consistency in tracking/reporting among regional maintenance groups • Supports proactive training • Looking toward mobile data collection capabilities
Road Weather Management Performance Measures • Will differ on types of weather encountered • Will differ by agency objectives • Sample measures • Regain time • Time to return to “normal” seasonal conditions • Coefficient of friction or “grip” factor • Benefit–Cost • What weather related performance measures does your agency use?
Notable Trends • Open RWIS architecture • Noninvasive sensors • Importance of camera imagery • Mobile data collection and AVL • Multistate weather response coordination • Interest in connected vehicles • Integration of weather and traffic management (@ TMC) • Including traveler information • Emphasis on performance measurement
Group Discussion • What weather events do you have to manage? • What road weather management tools do you use? • What has been successful? • What are the gaps you still have? • What new equipment, systems, or processes are you developing or exploring?
Weather Takeaways • Do you take advantage of all the weather resources available to you (appropriate to your role)? • Has your agency looked into mobile weather data collection? • Has your agency looked into the MDSS? Does it use it?