Resources, Practices and Needs for Weather Forecasting to Facilitate Winter Road Maintenance

State DOTs have limited budgetary resources for road weather forecasting; however, agencies need consistent, accurate weather information to facilitate the timely and appropriate deployment of winter maintenance operations.

This project’s goal was to determine how agencies meet their weather forecasting needs, how effective their forecasting resources are in facilitating road maintenance decisions, and what kinds of information or other resources agencies perceived they need to improve their winter response.

This synthesis produced a report based on surveys of state DOT central office staff as well as field personnel that addressed:

  • The forecasting services, coalitions, meteorologists (on-staff or consultants), and other means that agencies use to obtain weather forecasts and road condition information.
  • The extent to which agencies consider their forecasting sources and methods to be accurate, effective, and valuable, as well as perceived challenges and deficits.
  • The local information gathering efforts (such as mobile weather sensors on maintenance vehicles) that agencies use to supplement broader weather forecasts.
  • The methods agencies use to translate predicted weather severity into specific maintenance actions or responses.
  • How agencies convey timely weather information to operators in the field.
  • Perceived challenges and potential roadblocks to improving the acquisition of accurate and timely weather data and effectively translating it into the appropriate maintenance response.