The Clear Roads Technical Advisory Committee met April 21-22 to select research projects for 2020 funding. The TAC selected six new projects and one continuation project:
- Entry-Level Commercial Driver Training
- Understanding the NaCl Phase Diagram
- Indoor Automated Stockpile Measurement
- Expanded Use of AVL/GPS Technology
- Using GIS to Highlight Highway Segments Sensitive to Deicing Materials
- Salt Shed Design Template
- AWSSI Enhancements, Phase 2 (continuation of Project 16-02)
More information about these projects is available in the 2020 All Proposed Projects summary. Requests for investigator proposals for the six new projects will be posted this summer.
The agenda, budget and minutes from the spring meeting are available on the Clear Roads Meetings page.
Here’s a look at some recent research reports and ongoing projects from agencies around the country:
- Research in Progress: Road Salt Impact Assessment, Maine DOT. Project description.
- Research in Progress: Promoting the Adoption of Snow Fences Through Landowner Engagement, Minnesota DOT. Project description.
- Expanding Landowner Adoption of Snow Control Measures Through a Better Understanding of Landowner Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices, Minnesota DOT, January 2020. Project page.
- Iowa DOT Office of Maintenance Snowplow Optimization, Iowa DOT, February 2020. Project page.
- Biomimetic Antifreeze Molecules: A Novel Solution to Deicing Salts and Air-Entraining Admixtures, NCHRP IDEA Program, December 2019. Research report.
SICOP Talks Winter Ops podcasts:
- In “Asleep at the Wheel—Fighting Driver Fatigue,” Director of the Cornell LTAP Dave Orr discusses the latest research and guidance for state DOTs. April 2020. Podcast.
- In “Nordic Experiences,” Clear Roads TAC Chair James Morin compares the approaches that Washington State DOT and the Norwegian Road Authority take to winter maintenance. March 2020. Podcast.
Clear Roads has published our annual compilation of winter maintenance research that was presented at the 2020 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. The 2020 compilation includes 21 papers and posters, with links to abstracts and presentation materials. Presentations covered a wide range of winter maintenance topics, including materials, equipment, technology and performance management. Report.
Clear Roads has published its fifth Annual Survey of State Winter Maintenance Data, which compiles data on winter resources, materials and costs from 36 states for the 2018-2019 winter season. The spreadsheet-based tool includes a United States map that displays many of these metrics. The tool includes five years of data, and displays averages and changes across winter seasons. See the project page.
It’s a challenge every agency faces: making winter roadways safe for drivers while minimizing the environmental impact of salt use. To help its districts meet both goals, Minnesota DOT has developed a best practices guide and a compilation of training resources for operators and supervisors.
MnDOT’s Salt Sustainability resources address:
- Equipment training, including training videos on spreader operation and fabrication instructions for salt chutes and air foils.
- Calibration of spreaders and liquid application equipment.
- Decision-making, including using maintenance decision support systems (MDSS) and selecting materials and methods.
- Material handling and storage.
Compiled as part of MnDOT’s Salt Sustainability initiative, the resources also provide guidance on anti-icing, direct liquid application, truck washing and more.
Here’s a look at some in-progress research projects from agencies around the country.
- Improve and Gain Efficiency in Winter Operations, Indiana DOT. Project description.
- Evaluation of Slurry Box, Underbody Scraper, and Two-Way Reversible Plow, Minnesota DOT. Project page.
- Weather-Responsive Management Strategies, Texas DOT. Project page.
- Reducing Uncertainties in Snow Fence Design: Development of Methods for Estimation of Snow Drifting and the Snow Relocation Coefficient, Iowa DOT. Project description.
Guidelines for Using Photogrammetric Tools on Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Support the Rapid Monitoring of Avalanche-Prone Roadside Environments, Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium. Project page.
Check out these recent reports from agencies around the country:
Update of the Class 8 Truck Study, Utah DOT, October 2019. Research report.
Road Weather and Creative Safety Messaging on Dynamic Message Signs, Minnesota DOT, October 2019. Research report.
Validation of the Mechanical Rocker Test Method for Ice Melting Capacity (MRT-IMC), Nebraska DOT, 2019. Research report.
Brine Application Equipment and Methodology, Caltrans, January 2019. Research report.
In training news, if you missed the TRB webinar on NCHRP Research Report 889: Performance Measures in Snow and Ice Control Operations, the recording and presentation slides are now available. Webinar.
Call for Presentations: Organizers of the 2020 International Road Weather and Winter Maintenance Conference & Peer Exchange are looking for practical and innovative presentations on best practices in road weather management and winter maintenance operations. Presentation abstracts are due March 2; the conference and peer exchange will be held September 21-23 in Atlanta. Details and conference registration.
QPL Update: The Clear Roads Qualified Products List has resumed accepting product checklists and samples from vendors. For details on the submission process, visit the QPL page.
Check out these recent reports from agencies around the country:
Synthesis of Safety Applications in Winter Weather Operations, Texas DOT, November 2019. Research report.
Relationships Between Weather and Roadway Safety, Iowa DOT, September 2019. Research report.
Modeling the Macroscopic Effects of Winter Maintenance Operations on Traffic Mobility on Washington Highways, Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education, September 2019. Research report.
Cost-Effectiveness of Constructing Minimal Shelter to Store INDOT Equipment (Weather Protection), Indiana DOT, February 2019. Research report.
In training news, Iowa DOT recently posted an update to the agency’s popular Winter Operations Training video series. The new series includes 13 videos on topics such as plowing techniques, preseason preparation, and how deicing chemicals work.
Save the date! The Pacific Northwest Snowfighters will hold their 2020 conference on June 2 and 3 in Portland, Oregon. For details on past conferences, see the PNS website.
Other upcoming events:
- TRB Annual Meeting (January 12-16, Washington, DC)
- APWA Snow Conference (April 19-22, Cleveland, Ohio)
- National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange (week of September 21, Atlanta)
Hope to see you there!