The transportation community has taken the first and most important step of recognizing the impacts of weather and the need to factor weather information into their operations. The National ITS Architecture incorporates design elements for road weather telecommunications. The weather community needs to work through the Architecture with transportation professionals to respond to road transportation’s specific needs. This process is already engaged. Weather and transportation professionals worked together on ITS America’s Weather Information Applications Task Force and the FHWA’s own Maintenance and Construction Operations (MCO) User Forums to develop the MCO User Service. Other activities are currently being pursued in the standards area, another main application area for the Architecture. Such standards as the National Transportation Communication for ITS Protocol Object Definitions for Environmental Sensor Stations have benefited from the participation of weather and transportation professionals. That standards effort is nearing maturity, but others are at an early stage and will need the participation of both communities in order to succeed. Numerous other future applications will require both weather and transportation expertise.
The transportation community is developing, with the National ITS Architecture as the fundamental design, a robust national infostructure adapted to the specific needs of road transportation. That infostructure presents an enormous opportunity for weather professionals to work with the transportation community to prepare and effectively deliver uniquely adapted road weather products. It is therefore crucial for the meteorological community to develop road weather professionals and engage the transportation community in the development of weather solutions for road transportation.
Recommendation: Develop a robust national roadway infostructure.
Major components of a roadway infostructure (a network of data collection and dissemination necessary to support real-time management and operation of the roadway transportation system) are being developed. The committee recommends that the road weather research program proactively participate in this effort to ensure that the road infostructure of the future incorporates a sophisticated network of road weather observations, including sensors embedded in the pavement, weather stations adjacent to the roadway, water level sensors near flood-prone routes, remote observations from satellite platforms, and instruments on vehicles themselves.