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Road Weather Spotlight: October 2022


This webinar covers the methodology and findings from the first phase of adaptive route optimization (ARO) research.

Transportation agencies are responsible for plowing and/or dispensing chemicals to mitigate the effects of winter weatheron the road network. Winter operations includes the removal of snow and ice on roadways and the application of anti-icing and/or de-icing materials to improve road conditions to keep mobility and public safety intact. Each DOT has different expectations as far as return to bare pavement times based on the category of highway, traffic volumes and/or level of service. Snowplow cycle times, or the amount of time it takes the snowplow operators to plow and apply materials on all lanes of traffic along their route once, can be affected by the material capacity of the truck, the location of nearby sheds, live incidents, evolving winter storm intensity and timing, shift changes, traffic patterns, work zones, and more. In general, snowplow routes have been developed through past experiences and historical conditions but remain static within a dynamic, operational environment. Cycle times have generally increased, particularly in metropolitan areas, due to increasing population, lane mileage responsibilities, decreased workforce resources and elevated traveler expectations.

Adaptive route optimization (ARO) is a method of dynamically and effectively routing winter maintenance vehicles across all segments of a road network to meet an agency’s maintenance objectives during real-time, adverse weather conditions.Agencies using ARO can develop and adapt to more efficient routing plans and strategies that make the most use of staff time, materials, and equipment. To support improved winter operations, FHWA developed both a Concept of Operations and a System Requirements Specification for ARO. The Systems Requirements Specification serves as an agency resource to help understand how to incorporate real-time and historic data towards developing an ARO solution. This webinar will cover the methodology and findings from the first phase of ARO research.


Moderator: David Johnson, Team Leader, Road Weather and Work Zone Management Program, FHWA


  • Kyle Garrett, Synesis Partners
  • Neal Hawkins, Iowa State University

Organizational Capability Element

    Road Weather Management

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