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Intelligent Transportation Systems and Winter Operations In Japan
FHWA International Technology Exchange Programs

September 2003




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.

  1. Winter Maintenance Equipment
    1. What types of sensors (such as global positioning systems) are installed currently on snow- and ice-control equipment for use in winter maintenance operations?
    2. What new types of sensors are you planning to install on snow- and ice control equipment?
    3. How do your winter maintenance data gathering procedures fit within your media architecture for ITS in Japan?
    4. How are you using the data collected by the roadway sensors and the sensors on the snow- and ice-control equipment?
    5. What procedures are used to control the quality of wintertime road condition reporting?
    6. How are ergonomics and human factors incorporated into the design of sensors and controls used on snow- and ice-control equipment?
    7. Is your agency experimenting with any type of friction measurement equipment or other means to determine pavement friction to support winter maintenance operations?

  1. Measuring and Communicating Winter Road Conditions Measuring Winter Road Conditions
    1. 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?
    2. Please describe how you assess the overall wintertime conditions of road segments or lengths of highways.
    3. 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?
    4. 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.
    5. If friction measurements are made to determine wintertime pavement conditions, are these data provided to motorists for their use?
    6. Which agency determines what information on wintertime road conditions and associated driving conditions is provided to motorists?
    7. What sensing equipment is used to determine the avalanche danger in remote mountainous terrain?
    8. Is the avalanche danger sensing equipment used to activate warning or notification systems for motorists and maintenance/traffic operations personnel?

      Traveler Communication Issues

    9. What information do you provide to winter travelers?
    10. What methods are used for the public to access winter road and weather condition data? Please describe the data viewed by travelers.
    11. 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?
    12. How do drivers respond to the messages provided to them on winter driving conditions?
    13. What are the various winter storm-warning categories given to travelers to alert them to severe winter weather or significant winter emergency driving conditions?
    14. How often is road and weather information updated?
    15. Are major roadways or freeways closed during winter storms? If so, how are the road closures communicated to travelers?
    16. Is the government liable for providing incorrect road and weather condition information to travelers?

  1. Coordinated Use of Weather Forecast Data
    Sharing of Meteorological Data
    1. What type of data sharing takes place between your transportation agency and the various providers of meteorological data?
    2. Is there sharing of meteorological data with other transportation modes, such as transit, airlines, marine, and rail? If so, how?
    3. Is there sharing of road weather condition information with other transportation modes, such as transit, airlines, marine, and rail? If so, how?
    4. Is there sharing of meteorological data with agencies outside your highway jurisdiction? If so, how does that work?
    5. Who is responsible for quality control, quality assurance, and assimilation of the shared data?

      Meteorological Products and Services

    6. 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?
    7. What agency does atmospheric modeling?
    8. Who or what agency does pavement temperature modeling, and how is it done (heat balance, thermal mapping, etc.)?

      Dissemination of Meteorological Products and Services

    9. What agreements exist between your transportation agency (regional and national) and your national meteorological agency? Does a written agreement exist covering this arrangement?
    10. What information, data, or other services are provided to you by your national meteorological agency? By commercial meteorological providers?
    11. Are different sources of weather information sent over the same communication media? Is information from different sources displayed on computers in the same format?
    12. How are winter weather forecasts from competing providers of meteorological services provided to highway authorities? Are the same forecasts provided to the general public?

  1. 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.
    1. What MDSS or protocols have you developed or are you developing?
    2. What data do you collect for your MDSS for winter maintenance operations? Where and how often do you collect this data?
    3. 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?
    4. Who has authority to make winter maintenance decisions?
    5. How much use has been made of MDSS for winter maintenance operations? Please describe your documented successes and challenges with MDSS.
    6. How applicable are systems to the variety of areas and climates in your country? How many systems do you operate?
    7. How is your MDSS evaluated?
    8. What personnel levels use your MDSS?
    9. Are snow plans commonly used to provide guidance to maintenance engineers and supervisors during winter storm events? If so, how detailed are the plans?
    10. What winter weather criteria are used for closing a roadway? How were these criteria developed?
    11. How are maintenance activities coordinated with emergency management, traffic management, and traveler information systems?

  1. Performance Evaluation of Winter Maintenance Operations
    1. Does your agency have different performance standards for different types of highway facilities during wintertime conditions? If so, what are they?
    2. What data are collected to measure the performance of winter maintenance operations (clean pavement conditions, number of crashes, environmental impacts, etc.)?
    3. How are these data processed and used in the performance evaluation of winter maintenance operations?
    4. How is the performance of operators, foremen, and other decision-makers measured and monitored, whether public agencies or contract staff?
    5. Is the MDSS used in the performance evaluation?

  1. Driver Education for Winter Conditions
    1. What efforts are made to educate motorists about the potential dangers of driving during winter weather?
    2. Are winter driving techniques included in driver education classes?
    3. Are there educational and training programs to teach winter driving to the general public and/or to highway maintenance workers?
    4. If you have such educational and training programs, then:
      • What specific classes of motorists, if any, are identified for these programs?
      • Who sponsors, develops, and presents the winter driving programs?
      • How long have the programs been available? Can we obtain copies of the programs?
    5. What educational methods work best? Are the results documented?
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