7B.4 Advancing the Use of Clarus Road Weather Data

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 9:15 AM
607 (Washington State Convention Center)
Paul Pisano, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC; and C. H. Harris

In order to effectively track and predict road weather conditions so that roadways are kept safe and efficient, surface transportation officials need environmental observations that are highly representative of the road environment and decision support tools designed for roadway management. In addition, road travelers need to know actual or pending adverse road weather which plays a role in 24% of all crashes in the US. Implemented in 2004 to improve availability of road weather observations, Clarus is a national data management system that ingests road weather data from multiple agencies and shares quality-checked surface transportation weather and pavement observations. Currently operated as an experimental system for demonstration and evaluation purposes, Clarus eliminates data gaps across many state and local jurisdictions. The system has grown substantially over the past six years. As of May 2010, Clarus ingests data from over 2,100 road environmental sensor stations in 37 States, 3 Canadian Provinces, and four local DOT organizations. Several software applications have been developed to exploit the Clarus data and other weather sensor data to include winter Maintenance Decision Support Systems, Condition Acquisition and Reporting System (CARS), WeatherShare, and #SAFE. In addition, the FHWA has funded research to create and demonstrate operational decision tools for non-winter maintenance and operations, seasonal road weight restrictions, multi-state control strategies and enhanced road weather content for traveler advisories. In late 2009, FHWA announced it will support further research to develop additional tools and applications that utilize Clarus System data. The tools and applications may include interfaces, visualization systems, data validation techniques, decision support systems, algorithms, dissemination systems, etc. Fifteen proposals were received in the Spring of 2010 and FHWA anticipates making up to seven awards in summer of 2010. Descriptions of the new tools and preliminary results of system evaluations will be described.
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