85th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 12:00 PM
An Automated Algorithm to Predict Winter Storm Road Conditions and Recommend Treatment Actions
Robert G. Hallowell, MIT Lincoln Lab., Lexington, MA; and W. Myers and G. Phetteplace
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been sponsoring research investigat-ing the impacts of and remedies for surface transportation weather. A primary focus of this effort is the development of an end-to-end winter Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) that utilizes advanced weather forecasting technology, road condition predictions, and automated treatment rules of practice. The system is designed to give maintenance operators strategic guidance on the type of storm conditions they are likely to see and on a recommended treatment plan (plowing and/or chemicals).

As an important component of the MDSS, several national laboratories have worked co-operatively to develop a Road Condition and Treatment Module (RCTM). This module both predicts the state of the road surface and recommends treatment actions. Prototype versions of the MDSS-RCTM system were demonstrated for the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) during the 2003 and 2004 winter seasons.

The focus of this paper is on the overall implementation strategy for RCTM and the tech-niques used to capture storm characteristics, chemical concentration dilution, and treat-ment practices. The paper will also discuss the challenges associated with developing the system and the lessons learned from the Iowa demonstrations. MDSS treatment recom-mendations will be compared and contrasted with those actually executed by Iowa DOT during the demonstration. Finally, the paper will analyze ways in which the system should be enhanced and the research needed for further development.

*This work is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration under Air Force Contract No. F19628-00-C-0002. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Government.

Supplementary URL: