Road Weather Management Program
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Best Practices for Road Weather Management Version 2.0


Impacts of Weather on Rural Highway Operations


This study represents an initial attempt to identify the correlation between severe weather events (rain and snow) and the traffic operations on rural highways. The traffic operations' parameters chosen were traffic volume and speed. The lack of available empirical data for at-capacity operations on rural highways made it infeasible to assess the impact of weather events on capacity. Though a correlation between traffic volumes on rural highways and the occurrence of severe weather events could be established, the percentage change in traffic volume during weather events was not found to be conclusive (about two and seven percent reduction in traffic volumes with standard deviations of about 14 and 44). In this study, a correlation between rain events and the changes in hourly average travel speeds could not be established; however, a statistically conclusive correlation between the snow events and the hourly average travel speeds on rural highways was established and a regression model was also developed.


Montana State University, Western Transportation Institute; prepared for USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration

Date: 2006


Kumar, Wang



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