Transportation Systems and Winter Operations In Japan
FHWA International Technology Exchange Programs
The following is a list of questions covering six areas that the U.S. scanning
study team would like to discuss with you during its trip to Sapporo, Japan,
between January 26 and February 7, 2002. These questions are intended to clarify
and expand on topics of interest to the team under the subject of intelligent
transportation systems (ITS) and winter operations.
- Winter Maintenance Equipment
- What types of sensors (such as global positioning systems) are installed
currently on snow- and ice-control equipment for use in winter maintenance
- What new types of sensors are you planning to install on snow- and
ice control equipment?
- How do your winter maintenance data gathering procedures fit within
your media architecture for ITS in Japan?
- How are you using the data collected by the roadway sensors and the
sensors on the snow- and ice-control equipment?
- What procedures are used to control the quality of wintertime road
- How are ergonomics and human factors incorporated into the design of
sensors and controls used on snow- and ice-control equipment?
- Is your agency experimenting with any type of friction measurement
equipment or other means to determine pavement friction to support winter
- Measuring and Communicating Winter Road Conditions Measuring Winter
- How much advance notice of developing winter road conditions is given
for maintenance operations? Ideally, how much advance notice do you hope
to have and why?
- Please describe how you assess the overall wintertime conditions of
road segments or lengths of highways.
- What data (received from the sensing equipment used to determine road
weather conditions) are sent to maintenance headquarters? How is this
information shared with the public?
- What are the communication media and protocols used for the roadway
sensors, winter maintenance equipment, and operations centers? Please
provide concept figures showing communication sources, destinations, paths,
and media used.
- If friction measurements are made to determine wintertime pavement
conditions, are these data provided to motorists for their use?
- Which agency determines what information on wintertime road conditions
and associated driving conditions is provided to motorists?
- What sensing equipment is used to determine the avalanche danger in
remote mountainous terrain?
- Is the avalanche danger sensing equipment used to activate warning
or notification systems for motorists and maintenance/traffic operations
Traveler Communication Issues
- What information do you provide to winter travelers?
- What methods are used for the public to access winter road and weather
condition data? Please describe the data viewed by travelers.
- What efforts have you made to standardize the types of information
and presentation formats for road weather conditions and forecasts given
to the winter traveler?
- How do drivers respond to the messages provided to them on winter driving
- What are the various winter storm-warning categories given to travelers
to alert them to severe winter weather or significant winter emergency
- How often is road and weather information updated?
- Are major roadways or freeways closed during winter storms? If so,
how are the road closures communicated to travelers?
- Is the government liable for providing incorrect road and weather condition
information to travelers?
- Coordinated Use of Weather Forecast Data
Sharing of Meteorological Data
- What type of data sharing takes place between your transportation agency
and the various providers of meteorological data?
- Is there sharing of meteorological data with other transportation modes,
such as transit, airlines, marine, and rail? If so, how?
- Is there sharing of road weather condition information with other transportation
modes, such as transit, airlines, marine, and rail? If so, how?
- Is there sharing of meteorological data with agencies outside your
highway jurisdiction? If so, how does that work?
- Who is responsible for quality control, quality assurance, and assimilation
of the shared data?
Meteorological Products and Services
- Do you have competing commercial providers of meteorological services?
Are defined roles established between various publicly funded meteorological
agencies and the commercial providers? If so, what are they?
- What agency does atmospheric modeling?
- Who or what agency does pavement temperature modeling, and how is it
done (heat balance, thermal mapping, etc.)?
Dissemination of Meteorological Products and Services
- What agreements exist between your transportation agency (regional
and national) and your national meteorological agency? Does a written
agreement exist covering this arrangement?
- What information, data, or other services are provided to you by your
national meteorological agency? By commercial meteorological providers?
- Are different sources of weather information sent over the same communication
media? Is information from different sources displayed on computers in
the same format?
- How are winter weather forecasts from competing providers of meteorological
services provided to highway authorities? Are the same forecasts provided
to the general public?
- Use of Winter Maintenance Decision Support Systems
Note: In the United States, we use the term maintenance decision support
system (MDSS) to mean a management system designed to gather, assemble,
and organize information on highway conditions, winter storm conditions,
and winter maintenance resources to help maintenance engineers and supervisors
make effective decisions on staffing, equipment, and chemical use in support
of winter maintenance operations.
- What MDSS or protocols have you developed or are you developing?
- What data do you collect for your MDSS for winter maintenance operations?
Where and how often do you collect this data?
- Is your MDSS automated? If so, do all levels of maintenance management
have access to the systems for during-storm and/or post-storm review?
- Who has authority to make winter maintenance decisions?
- How much use has been made of MDSS for winter maintenance operations?
Please describe your documented successes and challenges with MDSS.
- How applicable are systems to the variety of areas and climates in
your country? How many systems do you operate?
- How is your MDSS evaluated?
- What personnel levels use your MDSS?
- Are snow plans commonly used to provide guidance to maintenance engineers
and supervisors during winter storm events? If so, how detailed are
- What winter weather criteria are used for closing a roadway? How
were these criteria developed?
- How are maintenance activities coordinated with emergency management,
traffic management, and traveler information systems?
- Performance Evaluation of Winter Maintenance Operations
- Does your agency have different performance standards for different
types of highway facilities during wintertime conditions? If so, what
- What data are collected to measure the performance of winter maintenance
operations (clean pavement conditions, number of crashes, environmental
- How are these data processed and used in the performance evaluation
of winter maintenance operations?
- How is the performance of operators, foremen, and other decision-makers
measured and monitored, whether public agencies or contract staff?
- Is the MDSS used in the performance evaluation?
- Driver Education for Winter Conditions
- What efforts are made to educate motorists about the potential dangers
of driving during winter weather?
- Are winter driving techniques included in driver education classes?
- Are there educational and training programs to teach winter driving
to the general public and/or to highway maintenance workers?
- If you have such educational and training programs, then:
- What specific classes of motorists, if any, are identified for
- Who sponsors, develops, and presents the winter driving programs?
- How long have the programs been available? Can we obtain copies
of the programs?
- What educational methods work best? Are the results documented?