Monthly Archives

November 2018

Episode 16: Winter maintenance and the social sciences

By Podcasts

Why do travelers make the decisions they do during bad weather is a much more difficult question than many transportation agencies are geared up to answer.  The trinity of successful winter operations is the maintenance operation, the road weather, and the motorist.  Highway agencies have focused much resource on the maintenance operation and road weather but not so much on understanding why motorists do what they do.  

The National Academy of Sciences impaneled a project team to explore opportunities to integrate social and behavioral sciences in the weather enterprise during 2016-17.  I had the privilege and honor to serve on this panel co-chaired by Dr. William “Bill” Hooke, American Meteorological Society, and Dr. Ann Bostrom, University of Washington.  Our final report, Integrating Social and Behavioral Sciences within the Weather Enterprise, has implications for surface transportation.  

In this episode Dr. Hooke draws some parallels from his past experiences making the case that if we focus some more energy on the motorist we can have a better winter maintenance operation.

About our guest, Dr. William “Bill” Hooke:

Dr. Hooke has been involved in the atmospheric sciences since 1967 when he began working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During his tenure at NOAA he was involved in many programs and research efforts.  In 2000 Dr. Hooke became a Senior Policy Fellow at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and directed the Policy Program from 2001 to 2013.  Today he serves as the AMS associate executive director.  He authored the book: Living on the Real World: How Thinking and Acting Like Meteorologists Will Help Save The Planet and blogs at Living on the Real World. 


Have comments? Send them directly to the SICOP Coordinator, Rick Nelson at or post them to our Facebook Group  AASHTO-Winter Operations Group