Clear Roads has published its seventh Annual Survey of State Winter Maintenance Data, which compiles data on winter resources, materials and costs from 36 states for the 2020-2021 winter season. The interactive spreadsheet-based tool includes a United States map that displays many of these metrics.
New this year is the inclusion of statewide averages for winter severity. The tool includes seven years of data, and displays averages and changes across winter seasons. See the project page.
For many transportation agencies, a new federal rule will mean changes to the way they train equipment operators who need to obtain or upgrade a commercial driver’s license (CDL). To help agencies comply with the new requirements, Clear Roads has developed entry-level CDL training materials for instructor-led classroom and behind-the-wheel training.
Available as a free download for any state or local public agency, the training materials focus on operators who are obtaining an initial Class B CDL, upgrading from a Class B CDL to a Class A CDL, or obtaining the hazardous materials endorsement for the first time. The materials include a fact sheet and timeline to help agencies achieve compliance by the February 2022 deadline.
For more information and to request the free materials, see the project page.
Image source: Indiana DOT
Have a research idea? This year, Clear Roads is inviting members of the winter maintenance and research communities to submit ideas for consideration as future Clear Roads research topics. We welcome great ideas from anyone!
Clear Roads funds winter maintenance research in six topic areas, with a focus on:
- Evaluating winter maintenance materials, equipment and methods under real-world conditions.
- Developing specifications and recommendations.
- Investigating innovative techniques and technologies that will save agencies money, improve safety and increase efficiency.
- Developing practical field guides and training curriculums to promote the results of research projects.
To learn more, visit the Submit a Research Idea page. The submission deadline is Thursday, December 23, 2021.
Clear Roads has reposted a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the following research project:
- Efficacy, Cost, and Impacts of Non-Chloride Deicers: An Educational Primer and Product Information Sheets
Investigator proposals are due Friday, December 17. Please see the RFP page for more information.
As temperatures drop, industry magazines are turning their focus to winter maintenance. Clear Roads research features prominently in two of them this fall:
- “Steering Clear of Crashes“: Clear Roads’ safe and defensive driving training materials are featured in the October issue of APWA Reporter.
- “Can You Hold the Salt?“: Clear Roads research on alternative methods for deicing is spotlighted in the September issue of Roads & Bridges.
In preparation for the season, winter maintenance crews from across the country demonstrated their skills at the annual National Snow Roadeo in September, with a four-person team from the Idaho Transportation Department taking home the national team title. Congrats to all the winners!
Finding and keeping skilled, dedicated highway maintenance workers has become increasingly challenging for state and local transportation agencies.
To help agencies navigate today’s employment landscape, a recently completed Clear Roads research project created a comprehensive guide of innovative, practical strategies for attracting and retaining new winter maintenance employees. Case studies cover recruitment programs, retention strategies, recruiting younger workers and those from underrepresented groups, and program improvements.
Check out the latest episodes from AASHTO’s SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcast:
- PIARC Winter Service Technical Committee: What’s in It for Me? (Episode 51): Steve Lund, Paul Pisano and host Rick Nelson—all members of the PIARC (World Road Association) Winter Service Technical Committee—talk about how the committee’s work benefits the U.S. winter maintenance community. September 2021. Podcast.
- The Year in Review (Episode 50): A review of SICOP activities over the past year and a look ahead to next year with SICOP Chair Steve Lund of Minnesota DOT. August 2021. Podcast.
- Six Summertime Projects for Winter Maintenance (Episode 49): A conversation with Paul Brown of Roadtech (formerly of Massachusetts DOT) about six summertime projects to help agencies prepare for the upcoming winter. July 2021. Podcast.
- Not All Pavements Are Equal When It Comes to Winter Maintenance (Episode 48): A discussion of winter maintenance operations on permeable friction courses based on Clear Roads Project 12-03. With study authors Michelle Akin, formerly of Washington State University, and Laura Fay of the Western Transportation Institute. June 2021. Podcast.
Image source: City of Fargo, North Dakota
Clear Roads has posted a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an additional research project in the 2021 funding cycle:
- Efficacy, Cost, and Impacts of Non-Chloride Deicers: An Educational Primer and Product Information Sheets—Proposals due September 17
As a reminder, Clear Roads is also soliciting investigator proposals for the following research projects:
- Grip Sensor Technology and Salt Applications—Proposals due September 3
- Best Practices for Protecting DOT Equipment from the Corrosion Effect of Chemical Deicers (Update to CR 13-04)—Proposals due September 3
- Training Module Development for CR 18-03: Evaluation of SSI and WSI Variables—Proposals due September 3
- Evaluation of Electric Vehicle Technologies and Alternative Fuels for Winter Operations—Proposals due September 3
- Calculating Plow Cycle Times from AVL Data—Proposals due September 3
- Determining the Migration of Chloride-Based Deicers Through Different Soil Types—Proposals due September 3
Please see the Clear Roads RFP page for more information.
Clear Roads is currently soliciting investigator proposals for six new research projects:
- Grip Sensor Technology and Salt Applications
- Best Practices for Protecting DOT Equipment from the Corrosion Effect of Chemical Deicers (Update to CR 13-04)
- Training Module Development for CR 18-03: Evaluation of SSI and WSI Variables
- Evaluation of Electric Vehicle Technologies and Alternative Fuels for Winter Operations
- Calculating Plow Cycle Times from AVL Data
- Determining the Migration of Chloride-Based Deicers Through Different Soil Types
Please see the RFP page for more information. For all projects, the deadline to submit proposals is Friday, September 3, 2021.
Pre-wetting road salt helps keep the salt on the road’s surface, which makes winter maintenance more efficient and cost-effective. While pre-wetting practices are used by many agencies, they have not been extensively studied.
A recent Clear Roads research project took stock of the current state of the practice for pre-wetting salt and other solid materials, capturing details on equipment, methods, materials and application rates. Researchers also compiled a list of preliminary recommendations to help agencies get the most benefit from pre-wetting and identified areas for future study.
Download the final report: Review and Summary of Pre-wet Methods and Procedures, June 2021.
Photo by Dave Gonzalez, Minnesota DOT