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Episode 20: TSMO365 – Weather or not

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Keeping the public moving in all weather conditions is an orchestrated dance between the maintenance forces, the network operators, and the public.  The actions of one influences the reactions of the others.  Road weather management strategies are employed by both the maintenance forces and the network operators independently or in unison to help mitigate the mobility challenges for the motorists to maintain a safe, reliable transportation system.  This is what we call Transportation System Management Operations every day of the year, rain or shine, or TSMO365.

SICOP talks Winter Ops with Steve Cook of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Community of Practice on Road Weather Management and member of the Committee on Transportation System Operations, Committee on Maintenance, and the SICOP Steering Committee.

For more about the Community of Practice on Road Weather Management Strategies click on the LINK 

or contact Steve Cook at cooks9@michigan.gov

 

Webinar: Showcasing the use of technology in achieving the maintenance mission

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Observing the approach our colleagues take in addressing a particular situation is the purest form of grass-roots technology transfer.  Even if your particular situation doesn’t exactly match theirs, their approach might just provide that nugget of insight or spark of creativity that can lead you to a solution to meet your particular needs.

SICOP Talks Winter Ops hosted this webinar in cooperation with the AASHTO Committee on Maintenance, Maintenance Operations Technical Working Group showcasing how two states approached unique situations facing their maintenance operations as a result of weather events.

Brad Darr, State Maintenance Engineer for the North Dakota DOT, discussed how the closing of 8 maintenance garages in 2017 resulted in a legislatively mandated Garage / Route Optimization Study.  The North Dakota DOT utilized off the shelf  route optimization techniques to answer difficult questions associated with winter maintenance operations.  Brad’s presentation can be viewed by clicking ND DOT Section Optimization Project.

Emily McGraw, State Maintenance Engineer for the North Carolina DOT discussed how the response, recovery, and reimbursement lessons learned from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 were applied Hurricane Florence came calling in 2018. Emily’s presentation can be viewed by clicking NCDOT Weathering the Storms Matthew to Florence.

To view this webinar in its entirety including answers to questions posed to our presenters use this link
Webinar – Showcasing the use of technology in achieving the maintenance mission.

 

Episode 19: When the snow hits the fan – Emergency operations methodology

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Maintenance is used to responding to severe weather but when the storm escalates into a state of emergency maintenance becomes just one of the players addressing the event.  Clear Roads commissioned a project – Emergency Operations Methodology for Extreme Winter Storm Events.  SICOP Talks Winter Ops with the Principle Investigator, Jim Sullivan from the University of Vermont – Transportation Research Center and the best practices he uncovered during this project.  

For more information about Clear Roads and this project head over to the Clear Roads website at http://clearroads.org 

Read more about Jim Sullivan and his work at the University of Vermont – Transportation Research Center at https://www.uvm.edu/cems/profiles/james-sullivan

 

 

Episode 18: Just what has SICOP been up to? 2018 SICOP Year In Review

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SICOP exists to support member states in fulfilling their winter maintenance mission.  As one of AASHTOs Technical Service Programs we are supported through voluntary contributions made by state DOTs.  Throughout the year SICOP performs many different activities in this cause.  In this episode, SICOP Steering Committee Chair Steve Lund from the Minnesota DOT talks about the accomplishments of the program in 2018.   You can see the  2018 Year In Review publication at 2018 year in review.

 

Send comments directly to the SICOP Coordinator, Rick Nelson at rnelson@aashto.org or start a thread on the Snow & Ice Listserve

Episode 17: You can’t manage what you don’t measure

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You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Agencies have been performing winter maintenance in one manner or another for a hundred years. Measuring how well we’ve been doing is a much harder proposition largely because no two storms are alike and the fact that they come and go so quickly and often overlap. Our two guests on this episode are no strangers to winter maintenance; Steve Lund is the State Maintenance Engineer for the Minnesota DOT and Caleb Dobbins is the State Maintenance Engineer for the State of New Hampshire. Both states have well developed programs to measure how well they perform winter service. Listen in as we talk about levels of service and performance metrics in use today and how they are used to manage winter maintenance operations.

Send comments directly to the SICOP Coordinator, Rick Nelson at rnelson@aashto.org or start a thread on the Snow & Ice Listserve

Episode 16: Winter maintenance and the social sciences

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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 rnelson@aashto.org or post them to our Facebook Group  AASHTO-Winter Operations Group

 

Episode 15: What’s the news from TRB?

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The Transportation Research Board is a lot more than the week long Annual Meeting that happens every January. Listen in as SICOP Talks Winter Ops with James Bryant, TRBs Maintenance and Preservation Engineer, as he shares whats on the calendar this next year for the TRB committees on Winter Maintenance and Surface Transportation Weather.

The TRB eNewsletter is another way to keep on top of all the activities and offerings of the TRB throughout the year. Anyone can subscribe through the link HERE

Want to take an active role in the winter committees, AHD65 Winter Maintenance and AH010 Surface Transportation Weather? Head over to My TRB and sign up as friend of the committee to get involved.

Send comments directly to the SICOP Coordinator, Rick Nelson at rnelson@aashto.org or start a thread on the Snow & Ice Listserve

Episode 14: Oral history of winter maintenance in the US

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How did the evolution of modern winter maintenance take place? What significant milestones ushered in the tools that make up the modern winter maintenance tool box?

Lee Smithson, formerly of the Iowa Department of Transportation and a past SICOP Coordinator, was one of the few individuals leading the charge that produced significant advancements in winter maintenance technologies. Listen in as SICOP Talks Winter Ops with Lee Smithson, as he shares his recollections on how we got where we are with winter maintenance in the US.

Some interesting and related links:
National Academy of Science Consensus Report, “Where the Weather Meets the Road

NCHRP 20-36 RRD 238: “1998 Scanning Review of European Winter Service Technology (1999)

Send comments to Rick Nelson, SICOP Coordinator
Start a discussion on the Snow and Ice List-Serve and reference this episode of SICOP Talks Winter Ops

To subscribe to the Snow and Ice List-serve click here

Episode 13: We got big data – now what?

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Many agencies have been collecting a lot of data, GPS/AVL coordinates, RWIS, mobile observations, photos and the like.  Now comes the time to ask So What?  Until you do something with it its just a bunch of 1s and zeros occupying peta bytes of space.  There are however great opportunities to mine these data and turn it into information that can help transportation agencies manage the system and their operations.  One agency, the Iowa DOT, has take that leap and demonstrated success in turning all that data in useful information.   

Tina Greenfield, Iowa DOTs RWIS Coordinator, shares their experiences in working with Big Data.

 

Send comments to Rick Nelson, SICOP Coordinator
Start a discussion on the Snow and Ice List-Serve and reference this episode of SICOP Talks Winter Ops

To subscribe to the Snow and Ice List-serve click here

Episode 12: Taking liquids to the max. Liquid only routes.

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Wisconsin liquid truck

Agencies have been using salt brines and a variety of other liquid concoctions for years as a winter maintenance strategy. Pre-wetting stockpiles, pre-wetting at the spinner, slurries, direct application for anti-icing have been tried and true practices. Now some have taken the use of liquids to the max, and now, utilizing direct liquid applications through the course of the storm. Some would say using liquid only routes are a risky proposition throughout the storm although some states and countries abroad have been successfully running field trials with liquid only routes.

Jim Hughes, State Maintenance Engineer with the Wisconsin DOT is talking winter ops with SICOP about their experience with liquid only routes.

Link to Clearing Winter Highways Using Less Salt & More Brine

Send comments to Rick Nelson, SICOP Coordinator
Start a discussion on the Snow and Ice List-Serve and reference this episode of SICOP Talks Winter Ops

To subscribe to the Snow and Ice List-serve click here