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Clear Roads Now Solicits Research Ideas Year-Round September 20, 2023

Dynamic message signDo you have a winter maintenance problem that you think research can solve? Submit your problem statement now and it could become a Clear Roads research project.

Anyone in the winter maintenance community can submit their idea and have it considered by the Clear Roads Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

Clear Roads funds research that addresses six winter maintenance initiatives: planning, equipment, materials, training, technology, and safety. The ideas and problem statements that best meet Clear Roads’ priorities will be developed into full-scale research solicitations (RFPs) and posted by Minnesota DOT for competitive bid.

Simply email this completed Research Idea Form to Greg Waidley at by December 31 for consideration during the following year’s research cycle.

To learn more about Clear Roads research opportunities, please sign up to receive Clear Roads email updates.

For a list of research ideas considered in past years, see the All Proposed Projects page.

Clear Roads Wins 2023 Chloride Reduction Leadership Award September 6, 2023

The Salt Symposium is an annual event that brings industry leaders together to share and discuss new developments and research initiatives that aim to reduce the environmental impacts of chlorides.

At this year’s Salt Symposium on August 1-2, Clear Roads received one of six 2023 Chloride Reduction Leadership Awards in recognition of its efforts to research and identify and implement practical solutions that save agencies money, improve safety, and increase efficiency.

“I wholeheartedly accept this award on behalf of the 39 state transportation departments and the FHWA, who are actively supporting and participating in this pooled fund effort,” said Tom Peters of Minnesota DOT, Clear Roads’ lead state.

Learn more about the Salt Symposium and the other award winners at

New Name, New Episode from SICOP Talks Winter Ops Podcast August 23, 2023

AASHTO’s Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program (SICOP) is now the Winter Weather Management Technical Service Program.

While this new name better reflects the group’s expanded focus on road weather management and maintenance operations, the popular Talkin’ Winter Ops podcast it produces will remain the same.

Check out the newest episode:

It’s About the Speed (Episode 89): What actually happens when you apply salt to a road during a winter event? This episode investigates the chemistry of salt and which snow and ice activities and salt solutions can make the biggest impacts.  August 8, 2023. Podcast.

Image source: Wisconsin Department of Transportation

New Clear Roads RFPs: Proposals due Sept. 8 August 10, 2023

Clear Roads is currently soliciting investigator proposals for four new research projects:

  • Using Vegetation Management Practices Near Roads to Leverage the Benefits of Solar Radiation
  • Updating the Impact of Capital Projects Decision Support Tool
  • Quantifying the Economic Value of Snow and Ice Operational Success
  • Development of a Public Service Announcement Library

To view the details of these RFPs, visit MnDOT’s Professional Technical Consultant ServicesFor all projects, the deadline to submit proposals is Friday, September 8, 2023.

Clear Roads Featured at National Showcase July 19, 2023

In June, AASHTO’s Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program (SICOP), Maintenance Committee and Maintenance Operations Technical Working Group jointly held its 4th National Briefing on Winter Maintenance and Road Weather to showcase the activities of the various organizations dedicated to winter and year-round transportation maintenance.

Clear Roads’ Chair, Craig Bargfrede of Iowa DOT, provided an overview of Clear Roads’ recent accomplishments and resources, including an overview of the new research projects the group will fund in 2023, the Clear Roads Qualified Products List and the recently completed 9th Annual Survey of State Winter Maintenance Data.

Watch the video of Clear Roads’ presentation and learn more about the other featured maintenance organizations on the SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcast page.

Image source: SICOP

Clear Roads Updates Submission Process for its Qualified Products List July 5, 2023

Clear Roads’ Qualified Products List (QPL) is a repository of winter maintenance deicing products that have been scientifically tested and meet specification requirements for inclusion on the QPL.

To make it easier for vendors to submit their products for review and reduce administrative delays, Clear Roads has developed a new online submission form that, once completed and submitted, will start the product review process. Integrated software will automatically track submissions and generate email communications, simplifying and accelerating the entire process.

Going forward, news and updates on the QPL will be distributed by Clear Roads via email. To ensure you don’t miss a thing, subscribe to our email list.

New Podcast Episodes from SICOP Talks Winter Ops June 21, 2023

Check out these recent episodes from AASHTO’s SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcast:

Designing in Salt Reduction (Episode 72): What role does design play in reducing salt usage? In this episode, experts in engineering and design discuss how road geometry, vegetation and other winter-sensitive considerations can maximize solar radiation and minimize drifting snow, reducing the need for chemicals. May 30, 2023. Podcast.

Alternative Fuels for Winter Maintenance – Part 2 (Episode 71): In the second installment of this discussion on fuel alternatives for maintenance fleets, Justin Droste from Michigan DOT talks about Clear Roads synthesis project, 21-05: Evaluation of EVT and Alternative Fuels for Winter Operations and the range of factors that should be considered as transportation agencies explore vehicles with smaller carbon footprints. April 25, 2023. Podcast.

Image source: Michigan Department of Transportation

New Clear Roads Synthesis Report: Transitioning to Fleets Powered by Alternative Fuels June 7, 2023

There are a variety of issues that should be considered before an agency replaces its existing fleet of diesel-fueled winter maintenance vehicles and equipment with versions that run on electric vehicle technologies (EVT) or alternative fuels.

To help agencies understand the available technologies and related operational considerations of transitioning their fleet, a new Clear Roads synthesis project offers historical context and lessons learned from fuel transitions of the past, as well as interviews with current practitioners and vehicle and fuel-system manufacturers. The project’s report includes recommendations, best practices and future considerations for making winter maintenance fleets greener.

Download the synthesis report and two-page brief: Evaluation of Electric Vehicle Technologies and Alternative Fuels for Winter Operations, May 2023.

Clear Roads Selects 2023 Research Projects May 24, 2023

At its 2023 spring meeting, the Clear Roads Technical Advisory Committee reviewed new research proposals and selected projects to fund. This year, the committee selected eight projects:

  • Development of a Public Service Announcement Library
  • Quantifying the Economic Value of Snow and Ice Operational Success
  • Update to CR 14-02: Quantifying the Impact that New Capital Projects will have on Roadway Snow and Ice Control Operations
  • Solar Radiation Benefits / Chloride Reduction Potential Associated with the Use of Vegetation Management Practices Near Roads
  • Computer-based Training for the Clear Roads ELDT Modules
  • Synthesis: Management of Video Recordings and Images taken from Truck-mounted Cameras
  • Synthesis: Brine-making Practices
  • Synthesis: UAV Uses for Winter Maintenance

More information about these projects is available in the 2023 All Proposed Projects summary. Requests for investigator proposals for the new projects will be posted this summer.

The agenda, budget and minutes from the spring meeting are available on the Clear Roads Meetings page.

Image source: South Dakota DOT

New Clear Roads Research: Evaluating high-performance plow blades May 10, 2023

Side View of Snow Plow with Green Lights

A variety of factors can affect a snowplow blade’s long-term performance, making it difficult for an agency to determine which blades are the most cost-effective overall.

By developing a field test protocol and cost-benefit analysis methodology, the new research will make it easier for Clear Roads agencies to evaluate and compare blades in the future using the same standard procedures used in this project.

Download the quick reference guide, final report and two-page brief: High Performance Blade Evaluation, January 2023.