Meetings and Events
Snow & Ice Symposium
The Snow and Ice Management Association will host the 20th annual Snow & Ice Symposium June 20-23 in Montreal. The symposium will offer concurrent sessions on a variety of winter maintenance topics, including a panel discussion of deicing materials and best practices, along with preconference workshops, networking opportunities and a trade show featuring snow and ice equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Details.
FHWA 2017 Road Weather Management Stakeholder Meeting
The Federal Highway Administration will host the 2017 Road Weather Management Stakeholder Meeting June 20-22 in Minneapolis. This year’s meeting will focus on sharing road weather management solutions to accelerate deployment, based on work conducted under the Every Day Counts Weather-Savvy Roads initiative. Sessions will be available remotely for those who are unable to attend the meeting. Details.
AASHTO Subcommittee on Maintenance Annual Meeting
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Maintenance is preparing for its annual meeting to be held July 29 through August 3 in Providence, Rhode Island. The meeting will feature sessions about snow and ice as well as safety and operational concerns, pooled fund and agency updates, and breakout sessions for technical working groups. AASHTO’s Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program steering committee will hold a preconference meeting July 29. Details.
2017 National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange
The AASHTO Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program, Aurora and Clear Roads will co-sponsor the 2017 National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange September 12-13 in Pittsburgh. This year’s peer exchange will look at implementing winter maintenance research into operations. Attendees will share best practices and also discuss the challenges they face. Details.
Compendium of TRB Annual Meeting Papers Available Online
Each year, Clear Roads compiles a compendium of papers related to winter maintenance that were presented at the recent Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. The 2017 compendium includes abstracts of more than 20 TRB papers that represent a range of winter maintenance issues, categorized according to the following seven key topics: equipment and facilities, information systems and technology, materials, performance measurement, program management, safety and snow fences. (Access to the complete papers requires a TRB login. For help accessing a paper, contact your DOT or other transportation library.) Compendium.
Pavement Sensors on ADOT High-Country Roads Detect Icy Conditions
Arizona DOT is using technology at three Interstate 40 locations in higher elevations to help keep the roads free of snow and ice. Pavement sensors are connected to ADOT’s road weather information system locations that use cameras and other instruments to collect data about road conditions. ADOT then uses the data to predict whether ice will form on the highway and help determine if deicing materials are needed in the area. Article.
Living Snow Fence Effort Wins CTS Research Partnership Award
Minnesota DOT and the University of Minnesota received the Center for Transportation Studies Research Partnership Award for their work using shrub-willows as living snow fences along Minnesota rural highways. In addition to improving driver visibility and road surface conditions, living snow fences may lower road maintenance costs and the number of crashes related to blowing and drifting snow. As part of this effort, researchers developed two online tools: a snow fence design tool and a cost–benefit tool. Article.
Workshop on Automated Vehicle Location Technology for Winter Maintenance—A Summary
California Department of Transportation Report CA17-3004-1
Automated vehicle location technology is widely used among transportation agencies for a range of applications, including winter maintenance operations. Last year, Caltrans sponsored a two-day peer exchange to share best practices and lessons learned from AVL technology implementation. This report summarizes the findings from the workshop and includes presentations from 11 transportation agencies that provided data on key parameters to consider when using AVL technology for winter maintenance. Report.
Improving Estimates of Real-Time Traffic Speeds During Weather for Winter Maintenance Performance Measurements
Institute for Transportation Project 13-485
Iowa DOT implements a range of proactive maintenance operations to reduce the impact of winter weather on traffic speeds. This report presents the results of a two-phase study that assessed the performance of these maintenance operations. In the first phase, researchers developed a model for estimating expected speed reductions based on weather variables and normal maintenance schedules. In the second phase, traffic data and limited weather information were used to create models that detected abnormal traffic patterns and predicted traffic speed and volume at any location along a highway network. An online interactive app was developed to inform decisions about winter maintenance. Report.
A Reduction in Nonfatal-Injury Motor Vehicle Crashes with Anti-Icing Technology
TRB Annual Meeting Paper 17-01570
During the 2005-2006 winter season, Connecticut DOT changed its winter maintenance practices to focus on anti-icing rather than deicing procedures. In this study, researchers analyzed motor vehicle crashes with nonfatal injuries to determine whether winter weather safety was affected by the agency’s change from deicing with a sand and salt mix to an emphasis on all-salt anti-icing practices. Results suggest that anti-icing reduces the number of serious crashes. Nonfatal-injury crashes declined 19.2 percent between seven winters (1999-2006) when a sand-salt mix was used and seven winters (2006-2013) when only salt was used. Paper.
Laboratory and Field Evaluation of Sodium Propionate for Snow and Ice Control
TRB Annual Meeting Paper 17-01094
In this study, researchers evaluated the deicing performance of sodium propionate, a common food additive. Field tests were supplemented by laboratory analysis, which tested freezing point, metal corrosion, ice melting performance, toxic constituents and damage to vegetation. Deicing occurred more quickly with sodium propionate than with sodium chloride, and almost no metal corrosion was detected. Researchers also evaluated a mix of sodium propionate (20 percent) and sodium chloride (80 percent). With this mixture, freezing point and ice melting performance was equivalent to sodium chloride alone, the harmful effects on vegetation were reduced, and metal corrosion was reduced by 80 percent, all at a lower cost. Paper.
Optimal Placement of Iowa DOT Maintenance Garages: Muscatine and Dubuque Case Studies
Iowa Department of Transportation Report 15-534
In 2014, Iowa DOT evaluated the operational efficiency of maintenance garages in each of the state’s districts. In this effort, researchers conducted case studies of the garages in Muscatine and in Dubuque—both considered highest replacement priorities. This project developed an optimization-based approach to sustainable replacement, improvement and relocation of maintenance garages. In particular, an arc routing problem was formulated to design efficient routes for salting, prewetting and plowing. Algorithms were also developed to find optimal snow routes, and new garage locations were recommended to replace the existing Muscatine and Dubuque garages. Report.
Research in Progress
The Use of Connected Vehicle Technology to Facilitate Multimodal Winter Travel (Phase I)
The Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education at the University of North Carolina will investigate how to use connected vehicle technologies to improve decision making for roadway operations during winter weather events. Smart snowplows, equipped with automatic vehicle location and other sensors, have been increasingly used as mobile data collection platforms. Connected vehicle data could supplement current technologies to improve system operations and potentially reduce vehicle crashes during changing weather conditions. In this phase of the study, researchers will conduct a literature review and national practitioner survey to identify the appropriate solutions, data needs and potential challenges in implementing connected vehicle technologies; identify best practices for monitoring winter road surface conditions; and make recommendations for using connected vehicle technology in winter road maintenance. Abstract.
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