Road Weather Management Program
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About Road Weather Management Program

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Road Weather Management Overview (HTML, DOC, 200K)

About the Program

Program Goals and Activities

The Road Weather Management Program, within the FHWA Office of Operations, seeks to better understand the impacts of weather on roadways, and promote strategies and tools to mitigate those impacts. Envisioned is a system that provides "Anytime, Anywhere Road Weather Information" for road users and road operating agencies, as well as a robust, competitive market for road weather services. In August 2005, the President signed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Title V Section 5308 of SAFETEA-LU authorizes the establishment of a Road Weather Research and Development Program to (1) maximize use of available road weather information and technologies, (2) expand road weather research and development efforts to enhance roadway safety, capacity, and efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts, and (3) promote technology transfer of effective road weather scientific and technological advances. The legislation directs the Road Weather Research and Development Program to carry out research and development called for in the National Research Council report entitled Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services. The FHWA will lead this program in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. Program goals are organized into four areas: Stakeholder Coordination; Road Weather Research and Development; Technology Transfer, Training, and Education; and Performance Management and Evaluation. The Projects and Programs page highlights projects and activities in these areas.

Stakeholder Coordination

Through stakeholder coordination, the FHWA Road Weather Management Program brings a multi-disciplinary approach to road weather challenges. The program has relationships with the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology (OFCM), NOAA, the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the National Weather Association, AASHTO, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), the Aurora Program, state DOTs, national laboratories, and others such as the World Road Association (PIARC) and the Standing International Road Weather Commission (SIR WEC).

In 1999, the OFCM and FHWA began the Weather Information for Surface Transportation (WIST) Initiative to establish the national needs and requirements for weather information associated with decision-making for service transportation operations. In July 2005, the FHWA established a formal relationship with NOAA through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by FHWA Administrator Mary Peters and NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher. Based upon the FHWA/NOAA MOU and FHWA/NOAA Partnership Plan, the agencies worked together to conduct a variety of important research, development and deployment projects related to surface transportation weather. The team leader for Road Weather Management also co-chaired the OFCM Working Group for Weather Information for Surface Transportation with the head of the NOAA Surface Weather Program. WIST Working Group members also include representatives from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The vision of the WIST Working Group is "safe and efficient movement of people and goods on the surface transportation system, whatever the weather." In July 2007, OFCM and FHWA co-sponsored the 3rd National Surface Transportation Weather Symposium (PDF 108KB).

Members of the FHWA Road Weather Management Program team participate in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Surface Transportation Weather. This task force provides a forum for the exchange of information on the effects of weather on surface transportation both within and between the transportation and meteorological communities. The objective of the task force is to promote research and technology transfer on techniques to better manage surface transportation, minimizing the impacts of weather and maximizing safety and mobility.

Road Weather Research and Development

The Road Weather Management Program aims to advance the state-of-the-art through targeted, coordinated road weather research and development in four areas: Observing, Modeling, Road Weather Information Dissemination, and Integrated Road Weather Technologies. Program goals under Observing include encouraging sufficient investments in existing observing networks and databases to enable an integrated Clarus System; establishing standards, guidelines and data quality control procedures for data and metadata; integrating transportation networks and data management systems with NOAA assets for road weather applications; as well a laying the foundation for collecting and integrating road weather data collected from vehicles. In the area of Modeling, the Road Weather Management Program aims to improve forecasts and models for the road surface and the atmospheric interface to support public and private weather information providers, and to promote the integration of weather and road surface data into traffic analysis and modeling tools that predict impacts on conditions and operations.

To improve Road Weather Information Dissemination, the program is promoting accurate, route-specific information tailored for surface transportation managers as well as targeted pre-trip and en-route road weather information for travelers. To foster Integrated Road Weather Technologies, the program is promoting the integration of observing, modeling, and decision support technologies into the information infrastructure; testing of weather-responsive mitigation strategies for freeways and arterials; as well as integration of decision support functionality into other operations and maintenance activities (e.g., summer maintenance, construction).

Technology Transfer, Training and Evaluation

Through technology transfer, outreach, training, and education the Road Weather Management Program aims to raise road weather capabilities across the transportation industry. The program has goals to conduct extensive outreach for advanced decision support systems and expand the constituency across transportation and weather disciplines in public and private sectors.

Performance Management and Evaluation

Program objectives in the area of performance management and evaluation include defining performance measures for safety, mobility and efficiency; and establishing baseline conditions and tracking performance measures.

Contact Information

Please direct questions, feedback or to obtain more information on the FHWA Road Weather Management Program to

Office Hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations, HOTO
Mail Stop: E86-205
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

Telephone: (202) 366-1993
Fax: (202) 366-3225

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