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3 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION PURPOSE OF THE SYNTHESIS The 22 respondents represent five western states and one province, two western Canadian municipalities, five mid- NCHRP Synthesis of Highway Practice 207: Managing Road- continent states and two provinces, two northeastern states way Snow and Ice Control Operations was published in 1994. and three provinces, and one northeastern Canadian munic- It described several new innovations and concepts developed ipality. The six northeastern respondents each encompass in North America, Europe, and Japan for managing snow large coastal regions. In other winter operation-related disci- and ice control operations at that time. Winter operations plines, it has been useful to identify characteristic winter cli- have changed in the 10 years between 1994 and 2004, as new mate regions. A broad spectrum of options was presented in methods, materials, and equipment have become more read- one question to provide a possible division of winter high- ily available. Increasing environmental concerns, limited way operators according to the nature of their winter climate budgets, and workforce issues must be balanced against and road network. The responses fell into five specific cat- mobility and safety demands. These innovations have been egories: Rural Mountainous, Rural Plains or Plateau, Rural adopted in different ways for different conditions provided Coastal or Lake Effect, Urban Plains or Plateau, and Urban the purpose for a new synthesis to highlight these advances Costal or Lake Effect. Although these were useful in consid- and how they can be assimilated. ering the context of the responses, the simplification of the categories to two agency groups, state or provincial and municipality, afforded clearer explanation and discussion. Figure 1 illustrates this categorization and the geographic METHODOLOGY AND REPORTING AGENCY relationship of the responding agencies. According to Envi- STATISTICS ronment Canada ("Snowiest City" 2003), the greater Monc- ton area (pop. 111,000) is the 6th snowiest Canadian city The state of practice of winter operations was sampled through (138 in., 350 cm annual average), Edmonton (pop. 937,845) responses to a questionnaire sent to highway agencies. A the 73rd snowiest city (49 in., 124 cm), and Vancouver (pop. survey questionnaire was crafted that focused on capturing 1,986,965) is the 98th snowiest city (19 in., 48 cm). The changes that have occurred over the 10 years since the pub- distribution of the responses for this synthesis was biased lication of the 1994 synthesis at the planning, managing, and toward the central mid-west and large western states and operation levels of winter highway operations. To capture provinces. change, approximately one-third of the questions were simi- lar to those used for the earlier synthesis research. The sur- In addition, a literature review was conducted of the pri- vey was transmitted to a sample group of transportation mary recent contributions or research related to winter oper- agency representatives. A limited number of responses were ations. This limited search drew on articles that provided received and then cataloged and combined in a manner to insight into the direction that research has taken since 1994. support the organization of this report. ORGANIZATION A second survey was then sent to representatives from 71 transportation agencies. (This survey questionnaire can The review of the responses for this synthesis is organized into be found in Appendix A.) They included 48 state and the eight chapters. The first chapter is an overview and introduc- District of Columbia department of transportation (DOT) tion to the report, along with a discussion of its limitations. representatives, educational institute representatives for the Chapter two describes results of the literature search conducted remaining 2 states, 10 Canadian provincial DOTs, and 10 for this synthesis. The responses covering state of practice are Canadian municipalities. Thirty-four percent (22 of 71) organized and presented in chapter three. An overview of envi- responded with completed questionnaires, providing a sam- ronmental effects that are topical to winter highway operations ple of 22 agencies, 26% (13 of 50) of the state DOTs, 60% is presented in chapter four. Responses of the agencies to spe- (6 of 10) of the provincial DOTs, and 33% (3 of 10) of the cial issues, such as catastrophic winter weather events, snow Canadian municipalities. (A list of respondents is provided avalanches, and appropriate design and construction of winter in Appendix B.) operations make up chapter five. Institutional issues concerned