U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
The Japanese organizations the scanning team visited were generous in sharing
their experiences with and advances in ITS and winter operations. The visits
with selected European researchers also yielded valuable information. A number
of conclusions were drawn from the team findings generated during these discussions.
Advanced winter maintenance equipment continues to be developed and evaluated in Japan and Europe. Advances in vehicle-based technologies have created great potential for improving operations and saving money. The scanning team believes a need exists to further examine advanced maintenance vehicle systems, AVL and navigation systems, and vehicle-mounted performance-monitoring systems for potential implementation in the United States. Japanese and some European agencies are coming to the conclusion that mechanical measurements of friction on snow- and ice-covered pavements cannot be used to make operational decisions. This is reinforced by interest in vehicle-mounted road surface condition monitoring systems that do not rely on friction measurements.
Significant advances continue to be made in Japan and Europe on improving the
communication systems and protocols used between RWIS sensors and operations
centers. A Road Web Markup Language (RWML) has been developed in Japan based
on the next-generation eXtensible Markup Language (XML). RWML has enabled road
weather information to be distributed easily on the Internet to PCs in road
administration offices, maintenance garages, and traffic control centers.
Integrated ITS corridors are developing in various countries that include surveillance systems (monitoring environmental, traffic, and road conditions) and automated corridor management systems. The scanning team believes these integrated ITS corridors need to be investigated for weather-related inputs.
While siting standards exist for weather information systems such as those
used by the National Weather Service, no such standards exist for environmental
sensor stations (ESS) installed along or near roadways. The scanning team sees
a need for developing ESS siting standards and associated implementation guidance.
Many European countries have not yet achieved full data sharing between their RWIS sites and their national meteorological agencies, but they are working toward that end. Examples across the United Stated demonstrate the benefits of collaboration between the NWS and State DOTs on road weather information. The scanning team sees a need to develop a collaborative, data-sharing effort involving FHWA, NWS, State and local DOTs, and private sector partners to improve weather information for the highway environment.
Finally, the team sees a need to document domestic and international winter
maintenance performance standards by road classification and evaluation measures
used. Compiling performance-based standards and identifying the circumstances
under which the measures work best will help maintenance management with internal
assessments and contract monitoring.