Target training and documentation to reduce barriers to maintenance personnel's adoption of a roadway weather information system.

The Washington State Department of Transportation's experience in using road weather information systems for proactive maintenance practices.

March 2002
Washington,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Implementation of the RWIS components serves primarily to help WSDOT maintenance personnel make better winter maintenance decisions. However, the evaluation report identified a number of barriers to full adoption of RWIS by maintenance personnel. The barriers included a lack of staff experience with RWIS technology and proactive winter maintenance practices. Similarly, a lack of confidence in weather and pavement forecasts and RWIS sensor information affected the use of the systems. Finally, a lack of training in interpreting weather information and the use of advanced snow and ice control practices was relevant. These barriers were compounded by a resistance to making the changes in current practices that would result in significant cost savings.

The evaluation document identified a number of targeted training and documentation approaches that would encourage maintenance personnel to take full advantage of the RWIS technology. These approaches included the following:
  • Share information about experiences with RWIS and advanced winter maintenance practices as a way to reduce barriers to expanded use.
  • Document the reliability of rWeather forecasts and share the results with winter maintenance personnel.
  • Provide training, particularly in the interpretation of weather information and the application of anti-icing strategies. Make an effort to focus the right training on the right people.
  • Provide strong management support for adopting advanced winter maintenance practices and demonstrate a commitment to necessary training.
The learning curve was a barrier to the implementation of rWeather tools. It is difficult to take full advantage of technologies for which there has been little experience, as was the case for RWIS in Washington State. As with any change in tools and procedures, expectations become more realistic with use. Many of the lessons learned from this project pointed to targeted training and the development of documentation that would familiarize maintenance personal with the benefits and use of rWeather.

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Road Weather Information Systems: Enabling Proactive Maintenance Practices in Washington State

Author: Boon, Catherine and Chris Cluett

Published By: Washington State Transportation Center

Prepared by the University of Washington and Battelle for the Washington State Transportation Commission and U.S. DOT

Source Date: March 2002

EDL Number: 13660

Other Reference Number: Report No. WA-RD 529.1

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/4133

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Edward McCormack
Washington State Transportation Center
(206) 543-3348

Agency Contact(s):

Larry Senn
(206) 543-6741

Lesson Analyst:

Firoz Kabir


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Lesson ID: 2005-00113