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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services WHERE THE WEATHER MEETS THE ROAD A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR IMPROVING ROAD WEATHER SERVICES Committee on Weather Research for Surface Transportation: The Roadway Environment Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies Transportation Research Board NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. DTFH61-01-C-00036 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Federal Highway Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-09136-5 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-52980-8 (PDF) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 2004101858 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Cover photo: Amanda Staudt, National Research Council. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services COMMITTEE ON WEATHER RESEARCH FOR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION: THE ROADWAY ENVIRONMENT JOHN T. SNOW (Chair), University of Oklahoma, Norman ELIZABETH CARTER, WeatherExtreme, LLC, Kings Beach, California DENNIS L. CHRISTIANSEN, Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, College Station BRADLEY R. COLMAN, National Weather Service, Seattle, Washington PAUL J. DELANNOY, Environment Canada, Gatineau, Québec FRANCIS B. FRANCOIS, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (retired), Bowie, Maryland GEORGE L. FREDERICK, Vaisala, Inc., Boulder, Colorado FRANCES C. HOLT, NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Silver Spring, Maryland MARGARET A. LEMONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado CURT PAPE, Minnesota Department of Transportation, St. Paul LELAND SMITHSON, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Ames, Iowa DANIEL STOCK*, American Transportation Research Institute, Wakefield, Rhode Island RICHARD WAGONER, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado NRC Staff AMANDA STAUDT, Study Director STEPHEN GODWIN, Director, Studies & Information Services Division, Transportation Research Board JULIE DEMUTH, Research Associate PAMELA SZATANEK, Intern ROB GREENWAY, Project Assistant * Ending April 2003
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ERIC J. BARRON* (Chair), Pennsylvania State University, University Park ROBERT J. SERAFIN (Chair†), National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado FREDERICK R. ANDERSON, Cadwalader, Wickersham, and Taft, Washington, D.C. RAYMOND J. BAN*, The Weather Channel, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor RAFAEL L. BRAS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MARY ANNE CARROLL, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor KERRY A. EMANUEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge CASSANDRA G. FESEN, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire MARGARET A. LEMONE*, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado JENNIFER A. LOGAN, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts MARIO J. MOLINA*, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge WILLIAM J. RANDEL, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ROGER M. WAKIMOTO, University of California, Los Angeles JOHN C. WYNGAARD, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Ex Officio Members ANTONIO J. BUSALACCHI, JR., University of Maryland, College Park ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, New Jersey NRC Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director SHELDON DROBOT, Program Officer AMANDA STAUDT, Program Officer JULIE DEMUTH, Research Associate ELIZABETH A. GALINIS, Project Assistant ROB GREENWAY, Project Assistant DIANE GUSTAFSON, Administrative Associate ROBIN MORRIS, Financial Officer * Ending December 2003 † Beginning January 2004
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH BOARD EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE GENEVIEVE GIULIANO (Chair), University of Southern California MICHAEL S. TOWNES (Vice Chair), Hampton Roads Transit ROBERT E. SKINNER, JR. (Executive Director), Transportation Research Board MICHAEL W. BEHRENS, Texas Department of Transportation JOSEPH H. BOARDMAN, New York State Department of Transportation SARAH C. CAMPBELL, TransManagement, Inc. JOANNE F. CASEY, Intermodal Association of North America JAMES C. CODELL, III, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet JOHN L. CRAIG, Nebraska Department of Roads BERNARD S. GROSECLOSE, JR., South Carolina State Ports Authority SUSAN HANSON, Clark University LESTER A. HOEL, University of Virginia HENRY L. HUNGERBEELER, Missouri Department of Transportation ADIB K. KANAFANI, University of California, Berkeley RONALD F. KIRBY, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments HERBERT S. LEVINSON, Herbert S. Levinson Transportation Consultant MICHAEL D. MEYER, Georgia Institute of Technology JEFF P. MORALES, California Department of Transportation KAM K. MOVASSAGHI, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development CAROL A. MURRAY, New Hampshire Department of Transportation DAVID Z. PLAVIN, Airports Council International of North America JOHN H. REBENSDORF, Union Pacific Railroad Company CATHERINE L. ROSS, Georgia Institute of Technology PAUL P. SKOUTELAS, Port Authority Allegheny County MICHAEL W. WICKHAM, Roadway Express, Inc.
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services Preface The Federal Highway Administration asked the National Research Council to examine what needs to be done from the research, development, and technology transfer perspectives to improve the production and delivery of weather-related information for the nation’s roadways (see Appendix A for the full statement of task). In response the Committee on Weather Research for Surface Transportation was formed. This committee was asked to investigate the current state of knowledge regarding road weather conditions, identify key areas where future strategic investments in research and development would enhance understanding of the road environment, and suggest how knowledge of that environment might be translated into operational production of information for use by decision makers: from drivers, to dispatchers, to traffic managers, to maintainers. In this report the committee provides a framework to engage the transportation and weather communities, as well as other stakeholders, in advancing road weather research and development in the United States. The committee heard from a wide variety of experts during the study. It soon became apparent that the road weather problem is highly interdisciplinary, spanning micrometeorology, numerical weather prediction, vehicle technology, communications technology, meteorological and pavement instrumentation, roadway construction and maintenance, routine traffic and emergency management, human factors, and technology transfer. Hearing from experts in all these disciplines provided the committee with a unique perspective of the challenges in addressing the road weather problem and opportunities for advancement. The committee thanks the following speakers who shared their knowledge with the committee: Edward E. Adams, Montana State University; Bob Baron, Baron Services, Inc.; Stanley G. Benjamin, Forecast Systems Laboratory; S. Edward Boselly, Washington State Department of Transportation; Ray Derr, Transportation Research Board; Ian Ferrell, Microsoft Corporation; Robert Hallowell, Massachusetts Insti-
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services tute of Technology Lincoln Laboratories; Jonathan M. Hankey, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute; Eldon L. Jacobson, Washington State Department of Transportation; Henry Lieu, Federal Highway Administration; Jonathan Lister, Vaisala; Clifford F. Mass, University of Washington; Ronald Miller, Ford Motor Company; Joseph Perrin, Jr., University of Utah; Paul Pisano, Federal Highway Administration; Shelley J. Row, Federal Highway Administration; Larry Senn, Washington State Department of Transportation; Harold Smith, Iowa State University; Timothy Spangler, Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training; Richard C. Steed, University of Washington; Andrew D. Stern, Mitretek Systems, Inc.; Jielun Sun, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Jerry R. Waldman, Surface Systems, Inc.; Samuel P. Williamson, Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research; and Chester G. Wilmot, Louisiana State University. This report provides the committee’s consensus findings and recommendations. In Chapter 1 the road weather problem is described. Chapter 2 lays out the committee’s vision for the road weather system of the future. In the committee’s view this vision could be readily achieved by the year 2020 if sufficient resources were dedicated to furthering road weather research and development, and to fostering the subsequent implementation of those research results. In Chapter 3 the current status of relevant research and development activities in the meteorological and transportation communities is described. It is apparent to the committee that the two diverse communities are not yet working together to address the road weather problem, and that special efforts are needed to bring these two communities together in an effective working relationship. A number of ways to improve the integration of weather and transportation research could yield a substantial payoff, and these along with other opportunities for improving road weather information are identified in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5 the committee recommends how to build an improved road weather program. In Chapter 6 the committee offers some closing thoughts on how developing improved road weather capabilities will increase the nation’s capacity to respond more effectively to other large-scale trends. John Snow Chair
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: S. Edward Boselly, Washington State Department of Transportation, Olympia John Campbell, Battelle, Seattle, Washington Pete Costello, PBS&J, Orlando, Florida Leon Osborne, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks Roger Pielke, Jr., University of Colorado, Boulder Shelley J. Row, Institute of Transportation Engineers, Washington, D.C. Phil Tarnoff, University of Maryland, College Park Jerry Waldman, Surface Systems, Inc., Castle Rock, Colorado Randy Welch, United Parcel Service of America, Atlanta, Georgia Brian Wolshon, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Da-Lin Zhang, University of Maryland, College Park Although the reviewers listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the report’s conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Eugene Rasmusson, University of Maryland. Appointed by the National Research
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibil-ity for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 15 Meteorological Conditions That Influence the Roadway Environment, 16 Estimated Impact and Cost, 19 Challenges in Addressing the Road Weather Problem, 22 2 THE ROAD WEATHER SYSTEM OF THE FUTURE 25 Robust Observation and Communication Infostructure, 27 Model-Based Tools to Support Decisions, 27 Smart Vehicles, 28 Enhanced Roadway Maintenance, 30 Enhanced Traffic and Emergency Management, 31 3 CURRENT METEOROLOGICAL AND TRANSPORTATION ACTIVITIES RELEVANT TO ROAD WEATHER 33 Observing and Modeling the Weather, 33 Road Weather Forecasts, 48 Observing and Modeling the Roadway Environment, 55 Roadway Operations, 62 Intelligent Transportation Systems, 73 4 OPPORTUNITIES TO ENHANCE THE ROAD WEATHER SYSTEM 76 Observations, 77 Advancing the Science and Developing the Technology, 92 Modeling Capabilities and Forecast Tools, 105
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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services Communication Support for Road Weather Information Users, 119 Integrating With the Emerging Infostructure, 124 5 IMPLEMENTING IMPROVED ROAD WEATHER RESEARCH AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS 127 Current Road Weather Research Efforts, 127 Challenges Facing Road Weather Research, 132 Proposed Road Weather Research Program, 135 Technology Transfer, 144 Education and Training of Road Weather Information Users, 146 Research Synergies and Efficiencies with Other Modes of Transportation, 150 6 CLOSING THOUGHTS 153 REFERENCES 157 APPENDIXES A STATEMENT OF TASK 165 B BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND STAFF 167 C PRESENTATIONS TO THE COMMITTEE 173