The Pathfinder Project: Collaborative Messaging for Traveler Information

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 4:15 PM
131C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Paul Pisano, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC; and D. Carpenter, K. Barjenbruch, L. Dunn, R. Patterson, and L. Sturges

Quantitative and anecdotal evidence has suggested that motorists respond to high-impact road weather forecast messages more consistently when the forecast information they receive from disparate media outlets contains the same travel impact message across all outlets. However, a multitude of forecasting and transportation entities within a given geographical area will release their own forecast road information prior to a storm, placing the burden of aggregating and weighing the information on the traveling public themselves, and decreasing the effectiveness of the intended public decision support services supplied by these entities. In an effort to better serve the end-user (the traveling public), NOAA's National Weather Service and the USDOT Federal Highway Administration have teamed up to build a framework that facilitates collaborative partnerships between NWS Weather Forecast Offices, State DOTs and, if applicable, the DOTs' private sector weather service provider. This Pathfinder Project has identified a singular interstate corridor (I-80) across 4 states (California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming) with a variety of NWS-DOT-private operational configurations to test the implementation of a cross-entity collaboration framework in a real-world setting. As of August 2014, the representative DOTs, WFOs and consulting firms had been briefed on the project and were preparing for a large-scale documentation effort through the winter 2014-15 season. This presentation will cover the project background, current status, successes and challenges faced thus far and anticipated future steps.