Have a successful winter maintenance practice that could help others? Share your knowledge at the 2023 North American Snow Conference. Organizers are looking for public works professionals to lead the conference’s education sessions to help their colleagues more effectively manage winter operations.
The 2023 conference will feature presentations on the following aspects of winter operations: information management, innovative solutions, leadership and workforce solutions, materials application, fleet and equipment management, and planning and operations. Presentations should emphasize practical applications and leading-edge technologies and approaches.
The deadline to submit presentation proposals is August 19, 2022, and the conference will be held April 16-19, 2023, in Omaha, Nebraska. The annual conference is hosted by the American Public Works Association.
For more information, visit the conference’s Call for Presentations page.
Designed to allow a plow operator to clear more snow in a single pass, accessory plows like Tow Plows and wing plows have the potential to provide efficiencies in terms of plow cycle time, labor and equipment allocation, operating costs, increased level of service, and more.
A recent Clear Roads project is helping agencies quantify where adding accessory plows will have the greatest impact. Through a spreadsheet-based decision support tool, agencies can compare plowing efficiencies and life cycle costs of different snowplow types for specific plow routes. Learn more and download the tool:
- Decision support tool (.xls) and user’s guide (.ppt, 137MB)
- Best Practices Guide, final report and two-page brief
Image source: Caltrans
A Clear Roads project has earned top honors among research presented by U.S. authors at the PIARC 16th World Winter Service and Road Resilience Congress, which was held last month in Calgary. The project, Defensive Driving for Snowplow Operators, was the subject of an award-winning paper presented at the conference by a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) research team led by principal investigator Matthew Camden.
PIARC’s U.S. National Committee selected the VTTI paper as the top entry by a U.S. author in the winter service category. The paper describes the team’s work in developing two new modules for Clear Roads’ snowplow operator training series: defensive driving and safe driving. Free for any public agency to download and customize, these training materials help operators learn to anticipate and prevent situations that can lead to snowplow crashes.
The study’s project champion, Doug McBroom of the Montana Department of Transportation, recently chatted about the project with Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program (SICOP) Coordinator Rick Nelson, host of AASHTO’s SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcast. Listen to their conversation on Episode 57 of the podcast.
Access the training modules: Clear Roads Training Resources
Clear Roads has prepared a listing of technical sessions and posters related to winter maintenance that were presented at the 2022 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. The list includes more than 15 papers and posters, with links to abstracts and presentation materials. The sessions covered a wide range of winter maintenance topics, including materials, equipment, technology and weather.
Download the list: Winter Maintenance at the 2022 TRB Annual Meeting
Note: TRB requires a login to access full papers and presentation materials. If you are having trouble accessing these materials, check with your DOT or other transportation library.
Using snowplow route optimization programs can reduce an agency’s winter maintenance costs by facilitating more efficient use of staff, equipment and materials. Developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for optimization services can be challenging and time-consuming, however.
To help expedite this process, a recently completed Clear Roads research project developed guidance on the technical requirements and key considerations for undertaking a plow route optimization program, including a contracting language template to help agencies build route optimization RFPs.
Image source: Missouri DOT
AASHTO’s SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcast recently posted several new episodes. The latest looks at how agencies manage extreme weather events:
- Winter Operations Is More than Salt and Snowplows (Episode 56): Wilf Nixon of the Professional Snowfighters Association discusses operating a roadway network in the face of a severe winter event. Topics include traffic incident management, traveler information, preemptively holding traffic, and disaster exercises. January 2022. Podcast.
Two recent podcast episodes preview the PIARC 16th World Winter Service and Road Resilience Congress, which will be held virtually next week (February 7 to 11):
- 16th World Winter Service Congress Is Coming to Calgary in 2022 (Episode 52): An event preview from conference Project Manager Nadia Lappa. October 2021. Podcast.
- Calgary 2022: What’s in It for Me? The Technical Program (Episode 55): Members of the organizing committee discuss the conference’s technical program. January 2022. Podcast.
Finally, two episodes spotlight winter maintenance in the conference’s host city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada:
- Winter Maintenance in the Chinook City—Calgary (Episode 53): Chris Hewitt, the city’s Manager of Roads Maintenance, discusses the city’s approach to winter operations in a large urban environment with unique winter weather conditions. December 2021. Podcast.
- Calgary—Adapting to Winter Service Challenges (Episode 54): A conversation with Troy McLeod, the city’s Director of Roads, about how the city has adapted to challenges including changing weather patterns, changes in mobility needs, and new travel patterns brought on by the pandemic. December 2021. Podcast.
Image source: City of Calgary, Alberta
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.