New Project: Developing a Severe Weather Index for Maryland DOT

A challenge that many state DOTs face is the accurate assessment of winter maintenance operations. One tool that has been successfully used by DOTs is the severe weather index (SWI), which can assess the performance and related costs associated with winter maintenance operations.  It considers the relative severity of each weather event, and relative severity of weather for that season.

Principal Investigator Laura Fay is leading a new project to develop a severe weather index for Maryland DOT by region, Maintenance Shop, and winter storm event.  Maryland DOT can use the  SWI to determine if costs incurred during each event and winter are reasonable, as well as if the resources deployed and contracted amounts are also within reason.

To follow this project, visit its webpage on the WTI website.

WTI Deicer Research Presented by Laura Fay at National Ecosystem Institute

Laura Fay presents at National Ecosystems Institute
Laura Fay presents deicer research at national event (photo courtesy of the Cary Institute)

Last week, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies invited WTI Research Scientist Laura Fay to present an overview of her research on winter maintenance deicers at the Institute’s main facility in Millbrook, New York. Laura’s presentation, entitled “Best Management Practices, a National Perspective,” provided an overview of typical deicers, including how and when they are used. In addition, she highlighted easy to implement best management practices that help transportation agencies reduce the amount of deicers they apply to the road, which in turn reduces the impact of deicing practices to the surrounding environment. The Cary Institute is a nationally and internationally recognized independent research organization, focused on understanding how ecosystems work and identifying factors that drive ecological change.

 

 

TR News Praises WTI Winter Maintenance Peer Exchanges

TR News magazine, published by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, recently dedicated an entire issue to successful efforts to move research into practice.  In the article “Going, Seeing, Showing, and Doing: Low-Tech Technology Transfer Works,” the authors highlighted WTI’s efforts to spearhead the National Winter Maintenance Peer Exchange from 2007 – 2015.  Specifically, they note that attendees have “overwhelmingly cited the sharing of best practices and innovations as the most helpful part of the event.” The article is included in the July/August issue of TR News, which was recently released online (see pages 38-43).

For more information about WTI’s Winter Maintenance projects and activities, click here.

View an an archive of the winter peer exchange events.

Deicer Research Highlighted by TRB

The most recent issue of the national Transportation Research Board Newsletter has featured an article on a WTI research report sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  “Field Usage of Alternative Deicers for Snow and Ice Control” summarizes non-chloride based deicers available on the market, including acetate, formate, glycol, and succinate based deicing products. The report explores the deicers’ feasibility for use as alternatives to chloride based deicers, and identifies next steps to determine if a non-chloride based deicer is a viable option for implementation in winter maintenance operations by MnDOT and local snow and ice removal providers. TRB and MnDOT have posted a link to the report. You can also read about the project here.

 

Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.

Researchers from WTI’s Winter Maintenance program have published “Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies.” This case study investigated the corrosive effects of chemicals used for snow and ice control operations, to better understand the potential impact on transportation infrastructure and motor vehicles.

Citation: Shi, X., Zhou, G., and Muthumani, A. (2017).  Corrosion of metals exposed to 25% magnesium chloride solution and tensile stress: Field and laboratory studies. Case Studies in Construction Materials, vol 7: pp 1-14.

Cold Climate Researchers and Students Exchange Ideas at Summer Workshop

Image of workshop attendees. The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states
The workshop attracted participants from numerous western states

On August 10-11, 2017, the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) hosted its annual summer workshop at Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman.  CESTiCC is a USDOT University Transportation Center, led by a consortium that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Montana State University (WTI) and WSU.  The annual forum provides an opportunity for the Center to showcase its projects, and for researchers to exchange ideas on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues, which spurs collaboration and new directions for upcoming research.

The presentations covered a broad range of topics related to transportation in cold climates, including the properties, durability and longevity of construction materials; winter maintenance practices and products; and impacts of transportation on water and air quality.  Laura Fay, WTI’s Winter Maintenance and Effect Program Manager, presented her research on “Lab Testing of Alternative Deicers and Estimation of Remaining Deicers on Pavement,” and WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank gave a presentation on “Sizing Hydraulic Structures in Cold Regions to Balance Fish Passage, Stream Function, and Operation and Maintenance Cost.”

Image of attendees sitting at tables discussion posters. Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session
Students present their research and network with professional researchers at poster session

Six graduate students were also invited to discuss their research in a student poster session and competition, providing an excellent professional development opportunity for young researchers. The second day of the event featured tours of the WSU lab facilities, and a field trip to the Kamiak Butte Park, a National Natural Landmark that boasts more than 150 bird, mammal, and vegetation species.

 

CESTICC Hosts Summer Workshop: Environmentally Sustainable Transportation

CESTICC Hosts Summer Workshop: The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) will hold its annual Summer Workshop on Thursday, August 10 in Pullman, Washington at Washington State University. The workshop will provide an opportunity for exchange on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues and research. If you would like to submit an abstract for presentation or a poster title, please follow the instructions on the event’s flyer. Registration for this is event is free; all attendees and presenters should register online on the CESTiCC Workforce Development Page. For more information on the workshop, please click here. WTI hosted last year’s popular workshop in Bozeman; for questions, you can also contact Laura Fay.

CESTICC Announces Summer Workshop

CESTICC Workshop Flyer Header

The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) will hold its annual Summer Workshop on Thursday, August 10 in Pullman, Washington at Washington State University. The workshop will provide an opportunity for exchange on each of CESTiCC’s research thrusts and will feature a student poster competition and lectern sessions on a variety of topics related to environmentally sustainable transportation issues and research. If you would like to submit an abstract for presentation or a poster title, please follow the instructions on the event’s flyer. Registration for this is event is free; all attendees and presenters should register online on the CESTiCC Workforce Development Page. For more information on the workshop, please click here. WTI hosted last year’s popular workshop in Bozeman; for questions, you can also contact Laura Fay.