Best Practices for Road Weather Management Version 2.0
Evaluation of the Availability and Accuracy of the Virginia Department of Transportation's Road Weather Information System
The Virginia DOT has road weather information system (RWIS) stations at 40 locations throughout the state. Each station consists of equipment to measure and record meteorological data, and from one to five sensors to measure certain pavement and subsurface conditions. Until recently, the DOT had two contracts in place to: (1) maintain and repair the RWIS station equipment; and (2) provide twice-daily 24-hour weather forecasts. These contracts have expired, and the DOT is now preparing to readvertise them. The purpose of this study is to assess the quality of those services, and to identify, where possible, performance measures that should be included in future contracts. The study concludes that maintenance service contracts that do not include performance measures with enforceable penalties result in inadequate maintenance and unreliable data. While this study does not recommend specific performance measures or penalties, examples from other states' contracts are included. The accuracy of surface temperature and precipitation forecasts at two stations is reviewed. The results indicate that although they do not guarantee forecast accuracy, accurate and available surface sensor data are necessary to provide reliable surface temperature forecasts. The study recommends that contracts for weather forecasts include the requirement that the DOT be notified prior to important precipitation events.
Virginia Transportation Research Council, VTRC 98-R21, Prepared for Virginia DOT
Environmental Sensor Station (ESS)
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