This session highlights on-going and recently completed research conducted by Aurora and Clear Roads Programs.
Use of Topography, Weather Zones, and Semivariogram Parameters to Optimize Road Weather Information System Station Density Across Large Spatial Scales
Tae Kwon, University of AlbertaShow Abstract
Simita Biswas, University of Alberta
Liping Fu, University of Waterloo
A Road Weather Information System (RWIS) is a combination of advanced technologies that collect, process, and disseminate road weather and condition information. This information is used by road maintenance authorities to make operative decisions that improve safety and mobility during inclement weather events. Indeed, many North American transportation agencies have invested millions of dollars to deploy RWIS stations to improve the monitoring coverage of winter road surface conditions. However, the design of these networks often varies by regions, and it is not entirely clear how many stations are necessary to provide adequate monitoring coverage under different conditions: substantial gaps in knowledge about optimal designs remain. To fill in this gap, an investigation was done to determine how optimized RWIS station densities relate to topographic and weather characteristics. A series of geostatistical semivariogram models were constructed and compared using topographic position index (TPI) and weather severity index (WSI) to measure relative topographic variation and weather severity, respectively. The geostatistical approach was then applied to map the optimum number of RWIS stations across several topographic and weather zones. The study area captured varying environmental characteristics, including regions with flat or varied terrain and warm or cold regions. This study suggests that RWIS data collected from a specific region can be used to estimate the number of stations required for regions with similar zonal characteristics. The outcome of this study can be used as a decision-making tool for RWIS network expansion thus maximizing RWIS network monitoring capability using topographic and weather-related zonal classifications.
Overview of the Clear Roads Pooled Fund Program
Scott Lucas, Ohio Department of TransportationShow Abstract
Gregory Waidley, CTC and Associates LLC
The Clear Roads research program brings together transportation professionals and researchers from around the country to drive innovation in the field of winter maintenance. By evaluating materials, equipment and methods in real-world conditions, the program identifies the most effective techniques and technologies to save agencies money, improve safety and increase efficiency.
Quantifying the Impact That New Capital Projects Will Have on Roadway Snow and Ice Control Operations
James Sullivan, University of VermontShow Abstract
In recent years, many states have experienced heavy burdens on their snow and ice control budgets. Increases in winter/spring precipitation results in increased costs to state DOTs for winter roadway maintenance materials (salt, sand, chemicals, etc.), plow operator time, equipment maintenance and replacement budgets, and fuel use. As state DOTs adjust to climate conditions that include not only more precipitation, but more severe and unpredictable weather events, it will become increasingly important to integrate the cost of roadway snow and ice control (RSIC) operations into their capital-project planning processes. The overall goal of this project was to support state DOTs’ operations & maintenance efforts by developing an automated method for quantifying the expected impact that new capital projects will have on RSIC operations.
The effects of a new suburban roadway were found to be the most significant, requiring 266 vehicle-minutes of travel along with almost 40 minutes of additional service time or one additional fleet truck for each mile of new roadway. The results and findings of this research have implications for short-term funding allocations for RSIC operations staff and for long-term consideration of RSIC in the highway planning and design processes. The findings of this project provide defensible data for operations staff to advocate for increases in funding to offset the increased RSIC burden when a project is completed. The calculation tool created incorporates all of the results above into a MS Excel decision support platform, providing quick estimates of the monetary impact of a variety of major highway project types.
Training Videos for the Implementation of Liquid-Only Plow Routes
TIm Arvidson, Stonebrooke EngineeringShow Abstract
Liquid-only plowing is a method of removing snow and ice on the road by applying liquid chemicals directly to the roadway surface. It also serves as an anti-icing tool. The goal of the Liquid-Only Plow Routes project was to create a set of training and promotional tools for the implementation of liquid-only roadway treatments. This information can serve as a resource for agencies seeking to gain buy-in within their organization for this type of winter maintenance, as well as for agencies already using these roadway treatments. It can also inform the general public while dispelling myths and misconceptions. The tools created as part of this project include:
The final videos are available to view on YouTube through the following links:
Developing a Training Video and Manual for Best Practices and Techniques in Clearing Different Interchange Configurations and Other Geometric Layouts
Yan Qi, Southern Illinois University, EdwardsvilleShow Abstract
There are many types of interchange configurations and intersection layouts that must be cleared during winter maintenance operations. These include, but are not limited to: diamond, cloverleaf, single-point urban interchange (SPUI), roundabout, Michigan left (boulevard turnaround), continuous flow intersection, diverging diamond, collector distributor lanes/interchange, and auxiliary turn lanes. There are numerous pass sequences that snow and ice professionals can use to clear a given snow route, intersection or interchange configuration. Agencies need a resource that provides guidance on the most efficient and effective means for snow removal utilizing common equipment setups.
This project documented current snow removal practices used by transportation agencies to determine the most efficient practices for clearing various interchange and intersection geometries. The goal was to develop resources that will help agencies better train their operators, justify the purchase of specialized equipment, manage resources, and improve service levels to the motoring public.
A Look at Select Numerical Models for Applying Spring Load Restrictions and Winter Weight Premiums
Heather Miller, University of Massachusetts, DartmouthShow Abstract
Maureen Kestler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
Richard Berg, FROST Associates
Major highways and interstates are designed to withstand damage from traffic during spring thaw; however, low volume roads can be highly susceptible to damage from such springtime traffic. To reduce potential spring thaw damage, many road management agencies apply spring load restrictions (SLRs), which restrict the allowable load on the road during critical periods when the pavement is most susceptible to damage.
While several methods exist for determining SLR timing, in recent years, a number of transportation agencies have been increasingly adopting the use of numerical freeze-thaw-related models for determining SLR timing. The models can also be used for determining timing for winter weight premiums (WWPs), for allowing heavier-than-design loads when roads are frozen.
Several of these numerical models were recently evaluated in a two-phase study, sponsored by Aurora, an “international partnership of public road agencies working together to perform joint road weather research.” The primary objectives of Phase I were to provide an overview of the protocols and models available, and to select specific sites. The objectives of Phase II were met through a field demonstration in which a variety of SLR timing protocols and models were implemented at selected sites in five highway jurisdictions.
This poster presents interim results that can be used to help understand the reliability, benefits, costs and risks of several of these numerical models for predicting timing for SLRs and WWPs.
Identification and Recommendations for Correction of Equipment Factors Causing Fatigue in Snowplow Operators
Matthew Camden, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityShow Abstract
The objective of this project was to recommend
cost-effective equipment solutions to mitigate fatigue