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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-109
Date: September 2004

Collaborative Research on Road Weather Observations and Predictions By Universities, State Dots and National Weather Service Forecast Offices

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This report documents the results of five research projects to improve the sensing, predictions and use of weather-related road conditions in road maintenance and operations.

The primary purpose for these projects was to evaluate the use of weather observations and modeling systems to improve highway safety and to support effective decisions made by the various jurisdictions that manage the highway system. In particular, the research evaluated how environmental sensor station data, particularly Road Weather Information System (RWIS) data, could best be used for both road condition forecasting and weather forecasting. The collaborative efforts also included building better relations for training and sharing information between the meteorological and transportation agencies.

These projects are unique because they each involved collaborated partnerships between National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), State departments of transportation (DOTs), and universities. Lessons learned from these projects can help all State DOTs improve how they manage RWIS networks and achieve maximum utility from RWIS investments. Sufficient copies are being distributed to provide one copy to each Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Resource Center, two copies to each FHWA Division, and one copy to each State highway agency. Direct distribution is being made to the FHWA Divisions Offices. Additional copies may be purchased from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161.

Toni Wilbur
Director, Office of Operations
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufactures. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No. FHWA-HRT-04-109 2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Collaborative Research on Road Weather Observations and Predictions by Universities, State DOTs and National Weather Service Forecast Offices
5. Report Date
September 2004
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)
Dr. Victoria Johnson, Dr. Darko Koracin, William Gallus, David R. Fitzjarrald, Paul Knight, and John Horel
8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Desert Research Insitute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512
Iowa State University
3025 Agronomy Hall
Ames, IA 50011
215 Fuller Road
Albany, NY 12203
Pennsylvania State University
110 Technology Center
University Park, PA 16802
University of Utah
819 William C. Browning Bldg.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET®)
PO Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307
10. Work Unit No.
11. Contract or Grant No.

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Operations
Federal Highway Administration
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd, Rm 775
Arlington, VA 22230
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Final Report 2001-2003
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
This report is a part of a study for FHWA titled, "Collabortative research on road weather observation and predictions." FHWA Contracting Officer's Technical Representatives (COTRs) are Paul Pisano HOTO and Rudy Persaud HRDO.
16. Abstract
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Road Weather Management program partnered with the National Weather Service (NWS) to sponsor five research projects through the Cooperative Program for Operational Meterology, Education, and Training (COMET). The goal was to create teams of personel from State departments of transportation (DOT), NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO), and universities to foster collaborative and productive relationships between meterological and transportation agencies. These teams were to use data from Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) to improve the utilization of these data in both weather and transportation operations and to create new predictive algorithms for use in road maintenance activities. Such advances in road weather management ultimately will improve mobility on the roads, and DOT productively in operations.
17. Key Words
Mesonet, Artificial Neural Network, IceCast pavement model, Integrated Weather Data Network, MesoWest meso-meterological network
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.
19. Security Classif. (of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
21. No of Pages
22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed pages authorized

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