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Where the Weather Meets the Road: A Research Agenda for Improving Road Weather Services
weather. Further, the development of improved capabilities to provide road weather information has been hindered by a lack of interaction between meteorologists and transportation researchers as well as insufficient funding specifically directed at the road weather problem.
Recent and anticipated advances make the field of road weather ripe for significant progress in understanding and capability. Accompanying advances in meteorology and transportation are improvements in communications, computational capabilities, and geographic information systems, all of which have clear applications to the road weather problem. The notion of smart vehicles in constant communication with weather information providers and traffic control centers, commercial fleets constantly adjusting their routing to avoid anticipated storms, and road maintenance personnel being guided continuously by telemetered in-road sensors no longer needs to be limited to the realm of science fiction.
The Committee on Weather Research for Surface Transportation was formed at the request of the Federal Highway Administration to investigate the current state of knowledge regarding road weather conditions and to recommend key areas of research to enhance operational production of weather-related information for roads (see Appendix A for the full statement of task). The committee’s findings and recommendations are designed to provide a framework to engage the transportation and weather communities, along with other stakeholders, to help shape and guide a focused road weather research program. The recommendations will help the weather and transportation research and operations communities capitalize on existing capabilities and take advantage of opportunities for advances. They include a suite of research activities as well as efforts to foster the implementation of an operational road weather capability.
1. Establish a focused, coordinated national road weather research program.
The committee finds that there are substantial research questions and opportunities in road weather that warrant a long-term national commitment and therefore recommends the establishment of a focused, coordinated national road weather research program. Sufficient knowledge and experience exist today to initiate such a program; however, some aspects of the program will require additional research and experience before they can be completely defined and implemented. A road weather research