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28 CHAPTER EIGHT CONCLUSIONS Since 1994, advances have been made to the strategies, deploy- over the past 10 years, with improved equipment, Road ments, and statistics related to conducting winter operations Weather Information Systems (RWIS), and weather activities on the highways and municipal streets of North forecasts following closely behind. America. Use of computerized controls associated with spread- ing rates for both liquids and solids represents a sig- Survey responses indicated that several of the emerging nificant change in equipment that has occurred over the advanced technologies and techniques have experienced storm past 10 years. Ninety-five percent of the responding event and agency testing, integration, and adoption. Although agencies reported increased use. a few traditional practices have been discarded, many tradi- An important trend is seen in the rise of problems asso- tional practices such as plowing and spreading have seen aug- ciated with the increased use of on-board (truck) com- mentation, modification, adaptation, and improvement through puterized systems, such as interference by radios with the continual improvement process that is the nature of daily other electronic systems, complex and fragile wiring, front-line winter maintenance activities. and inadequate hydraulic capacities. Although increased use and expansion of RWIS are Agencies and funding sources are now interested in described as significant changes in the way winter absolute cost and material efficiencies, although the operations are conducted, approximately half of the resources for gathering such are rare and the technology lim- 17 responding agencies with RWIS have no deployment ited in deployment. Nonintrusive data gathering is an area strategy or criteria for site location. with great promise and one of the topics that should receive Half of the agencies surveyed believe the Maintenance a high level of future consideration. Decision Support System concept will develop into a useful tool. Road weather knowledge combined with training has Operational and institutional rural drifting snow was become a crucial part of snow removal and anti-icing deci- ranked as the number one problem by 73% of the agen- sions. There is greater availability and more widespread use cies. When the primary and secondary problem responses of road weather information than ever before. Previously, are combined, suburban and rural blowing snow is the road weather information was not always readily available to most prevalent problem faced by 100% of the agencies. maintenance staff or was limited to a very small regional Road weather knowledge with training has become a deployment such as a metro area or toll road. crucial part of the snow removal and anti-icing decisions. North American winter highway operators have better Use of RWIS has become a mainstream technological equipment, materials, methods, and are providing higher lev- methodology in the winter maintenance toolbox. The use els of service to the traveling public than before 1994. Corre- of RWIS was fairly widespread geographically 10 years spondingly, they contend with increasing expectations, tighter ago; however, it has become an even more essential com- budgetary and environmental constraints, and greater demands ponent to winter operations and is increasingly used by on information ingestion, collection, and generation. traffic operations for its value in the highway manage- ment area of intelligent transportation systems. Several key conclusions emerged from this synthesis. These More than 95% of the agencies involved in this study conclusions are organized here according to similarity, with stated that they report winter road conditions regularly the first being organizational and the remainder grouped under to the public through a combination of the Internet, the state of the practice and emerging technologies. media, and telephone services such as a hotline or a 511 system. The organization of snow and ice control or other winter A significant problem area is public expectation and bare maintenance activities by the various agencies follows road policies. A number of states have implemented such logical outlines based on the local needs and governmen- policies. Once bare roads policies are in place, the expec- tal structure and includes a current common thread of tation by the public is that highways will be cleared doing more with less under increasing constraints. immediately and that driving conditions will be com- New chemicals, all-liquid applications, and pre-wetting mensurate with clear pavement conditions. Public aware- were the most significant changes to winter operations ness campaigns that emphasize caution during winter

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29 driving, while explaining the efforts of maintenance ice control strategies and activities, traveler information, traf- forces to clear roads, could be very effective in address- fic operations, weather effects, environmental impacts, and ing this problem. customer satisfaction. The maintenance worker has at his or Training, particularly that concerning pre-wetting and her disposal a wide variety and higher quality of tools, tech- anti-icing, is important. Advances in technology com- niques, strategies, and material combinations to provide higher pound the problem, because personnel need more and levels of service to the traveling public than were available more technically specialized training to make use of before 1994. At the same time, they contend with increasing equipment and materials. There are difficulties associ- expectations, tighter budgetary and environmental constraints, ated with delivering this training effectively and effi- and greater demands on information ingestion, collection, and ciently to a workforce that may not begin shifts until the generation. One of the challenges of this synthesis was to snow is ready to fall. investigate ways to simplify the selection process of what Added emphasis on environmental protection affects combination(s) to use. Ultimately, the concept of a toolbox or maintenance operations, particularly with regard to the palette with multiple options to choose from continues to be use of chemicals and abrasives. This added emphasis the optimal solution. The drawers of such a toolbox are orga- elevates the importance of optimizing the application nized hierarchically; the most used should be placed near the rates of treatment materials, management strategies, and top followed by those that are necessary to operation support. training. Winter highway operations, and specifically snow and ice control, have long used this concept of a methods and tech- The following are suggested areas of future study: nology toolbox in accomplishing their tasks. This analogy can be expanded based on the results of the responses to this syn- Blowing and drifting snow management. thesis. As with any well-used toolbox, it comes with signifi- Impact of outsourcing winter maintenance activities. cant instructions. Included with the winter operations toolbox Impact of pavement design such as open grade on black are guides touting constant attention to safety and environ- ice formation. mental sensitivity. There are also guidelines from the public Operator and decision-maker training. relations campaign designed to raise the public's awareness Anti-icing chemical issues including vehicle and infra- and appreciation of the efforts and role snow and ice control structure corrosion, slipperiness, and environmental plays in their everyday life that are similar to previous cam- compatibility. paigns about work zone driving responsibility. Accompany- Nonintrusive data gathering for performance manage- ing this toolbox is a map case containing plans and strategies, ment and research application. which includes plans for the survey of customer expecta- tions, ways to communicate constraints, and strategies to In conclusion, winter highway operations are dynamic and meet desired levels of service with minimal environmental eventful. Winter highway operations now integrate snow and detriments.