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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies


The following seven recommendations are offered based on the results of the performance measurements:

Catalog best practices in State departments of transportation (DOT) performance measurement and disseminate performance reports reported by State DOTs. An ongoing challenge is the limited amount of evaluation studies and performance reporting available. However, there is renewed interest in this area and several States are starting to report performance of winter maintenance operations. More importantly, the capability to collect and report on performance is also growing. A small initiative to compile performance measurement efforts by State DOTs and catalog the availability of such reports can spur further State DOT efforts in this important area.

Continue developing methodologies and case studies related to benefit-cost analysis for road weather management. State and local agencies are still struggling with calculating the returns on investments for their road weather management programs. Providing additional guidance and tools regarding benefit-cost assessments for road weather technologies and strategies should continue to be a priority for the program.

Improve tracking of participation and long-term outcomes of training, meetings and workshops. While challenging, tracking the effectiveness of Road Weather Management Program (RWMP) training and workshops is essential. Due to the diversity of forums by which RWMP promotes technical transfer, it is difficult to track how participants are using the information provided by the program. However, workshops for capability maturity frameworks have an action plan that needs to be developed as part of the process. Tracking progress of State DOTs in accomplishing the action plan is an easy first step towards gauging effectiveness of program sponsored workshops. Similarly, follow-up requests for additional guidance and support provided by the division offices or the resource centers after a program event are useful indicators of effectiveness.

Develop a knowledge and technology transfer effort to increase awareness of RWMP tools and resources. Information, products, and services provided by the program continue to grow. While the website is an effective tool for making them available to the broader community, it is a passive approach to disseminating the products of the program. A focused knowledge and technology transfer effort can take a coordinated approach to ensuring that research and development (R&D) initiatives and guidance developed by the program reach the intended stakeholders when they need it most. Greater integration with the activities of National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) is a possible approach to initiate a more robust knowledge and technology transfer effort.

Develop program area focus around resilience and risk. Agencies are just starting to consider resilience as part of their planning for operations. Continuing the program's efforts in this area includes providing guidance, primers and a business case for resilience especially for road weather management programs. The program needs to focus on establishing how agencies can factor in risk, uncertainty effectively in planning for road weather.

Continue to engage State DOTs around analysis, modeling and simulation tools. There is limited use of analysis, modeling, and simulation (AMS) tools in the road weather management community. Greater consideration, awareness and utilization of these tools can help plan, deploy and evaluate road weather management systems better. Easy-to-use and weather-responsive AMS tools are needed. While the program's R&D efforts have focused on building these tools, the next step needs to be in enabling adoption. Most agencies find that these tools are too cumbersome to set-up and use, expensive to maintain and require capabilities that may not exist within their workforce.

Support stakeholder interest in mobile data and connected vehicle applications. State DOTs are keenly interested in developing and deploying connected vehicle applications. The program should continue supporting the prototyping, deployment and evaluation of new connected vehicle applications that use mobile data effectively for road weather management.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that, notwithstanding a variety of opportunities that can be identified where the RWMP can make further improvements, the results from this update study on program performance demonstrate substantial and continuing progress. Going forward, the RWMP, in collaboration with related Federal Highway Administration), State, Pooled Fund programs, can use the results of these assessments to further encourage all State DOTs and transportation agencies to proactively bring weather information, tools, and resources into their operations, especially those States and agencies that have held back due to concerns with costs and risks. The evidence clearly points to the advantages and potential cost savings associated with the adoption of road weather management strategies, both for DOT operations and for the traveling public.

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