CHAPTER 4. OBJECTIVE 1: BUILD AND SUSTAIN RELATIONSHIPS WITH MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PARTNERS TO EXPAND ROAD WEATHER MANAGEMENT DEPLOYMENTS
Partnerships with State departments of transportation (DOTs) and local agencies are critical to implementing the Road Weather Management Program's (RWMP) research agenda for road weather management. The RWMP encourages transportation agencies to participate in demonstrations and pilot projects for a number of innovative road weather research areas, including fostering cross-entity collaboration to coordinate road weather messaging for travelers; developing a nationwide network of environmental sensor stations (ESS) to provide web-based accessibility to real-time data for atmospheric and pavement observations; and advancing the use of vehicle sensor technology to collect data about atmospheric and pavement conditions. This objective includes two performance measures (PM) that assess the breadth and depth of RWMP's stakeholder engagement.
PM #1: Number of agencies participating in road weather Research and Development projects
This performance measure captures the extent to which State and local transportation agencies are participating in research and development (R&D) projects initiated by the RWMP. These R&D activities encompass all major initiatives of the RWMP, including the Pathfinder Project, RWMP Capability Maturity Framework (CMF), Weather Data Environment, Integrated Mobile Observations (IMO) Program, Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) Application Development Efforts, and weather responsive traffic management (WRTM) implementation support activities. R&D demonstration projects involving agency participation provide direct benefits to the agencies through staff involvement. The continued involvement of agencies is a direct testament to their perceived benefit of the RWMP R&D efforts. Table 9 lists public agencies that participated in a significant manner in R&D efforts between 2012 and 2014 and includes activities where the agency was a RWMP grant recipient. In many cases listed, these agencies contribute matching funds or in-kind resources (e.g., staff time) to participate in these projects.
DOT – department of transportation
IMO – integrated mobile observations
RWMP – road weather management program
TD – transportation department
V2I – vehicle to infrastructure
Since the 2012 report, the breadth and depth of State DOT involvement in RWMP activities has slightly increased. In the previous update, eleven States did not participate in any activity, whereas, in this update that number fell slightly to ten. As seen in the previous update, higher levels of participation are seen from States in the Northwest, Midwest, and New England regions where adverse weather is significant issue.
PM #2: Number of agencies participating in and benefiting from road weather management stakeholder meetings/workshops
Beginning in 2000, RWMP has held regular stakeholders meetings, focusing initially on maintenance decision support systems (MDSS) and later Clarus/MDSS. Since 2009, the meetings have focused more broadly on road weather management. Now these meetings include annual RWMP stakeholder meetings and WRTM meetings held every two years. This performance measure tracks State participation in these meetings and monitors the continued interest and growth of the RWM stakeholder community. The data are compiled from RWMP meeting records.(10) State participation in stakeholder meetings increased steadily until 2012, where it peaked with 36 states attending the RWMP meeting. Since then, State DOT attendance at the annual RWMP meetings has decreased with more than a 50 percent reduction over two years with 16 State DOTs participating in 2014, as indicated in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Graph. State Participation in Stakeholder Meetings Organized by Road Weather Management Program.
Continuing funding constraints and travel restrictions at State DOTs are increasingly making it difficult to attend stakeholder meetings. However, note that the overall attendance in Stakeholder workshops is increasing with a greater proportion of private sector attendees, as shown in Table 10. Evaluations from the meetings and workshops show very positive feedback from the attendees. An overwhelming majority of participants expressed that the meetings and workshops met or exceeded their expectations and provided information that is useful and relevant to their duties.
Overall, the two performance measures reveal strong engagement, with partnerships fostered and supported by the RWMP. State DOT participation in RWMP R&D continues to grow with the largest number of State DOTs involved in transitioning the Clarus system to the Weather Data Environment. However, other R&D efforts such as WRTM, V2I implementation support have also included effective partnerships with State DOTs. The stakeholder meetings continue to be a valuable and growing forum for information exchange in the road weather management community evolving over time from Clarus and MDSS focused meetings to a broader road weather management agenda. With growing challenges in supporting in-person meetings and travel constraints at State DOTs, maintaining participation of public agencies is a challenge. In an effort to reduce costs and increase the level of participation, the RWMP transitioned the 2015 annual meeting from an in-person meeting to a virtual meeting.
10 In addition to States, other private and public agencies attend the stakeholder meetings. These agencies are not included in the measure, as this level of detail is not available for the earlier Clarus/MDSS meetings. [ Return to note 10. ]
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration