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Cold Climate Operations and Systems

Through innovation and multi-disciplinary partnerships, the Cold Climate Operations and Systems program researches these effects on transportation systems in order to mitigate challenges and concerns. Our problem-driven research emphasizes the development and evaluation of winter maintenance materials, technologies and systems to aid in best practices and decision making.

The WTI Cold Climate Operations and Systems (CCOS) Program aims to research and mitigate winter and its effects on transportation systems through innovation and multi-disciplinary partnerships. To this end, we serve as a bridge between industry and academia and conduct problem-driven research, with emphases on the development and evaluation of materials, technologies and systems to support winter maintenance best practices and decision making for sustainable transportation systems.

Team Culture

The Cold Climate Operations and Systems (CCOS) program is committed to maintaining a dynamic, enjoyable team environment that listens to end-user needs, encourages innovative thinking, and stimulates inter-disciplinary partnerships, with the ultimate goal of effecting positive changes to society and industry.  Currently our team features a diverse combination of expertise in civil engineering, polymer chemistry, materials science and engineering, environmental science, toxicology, numerical modeling, geospatial mapping and analysis, industrial engineering, and transportation engineering.

The Challenge

In the United States and Canada, transportation agencies manage roads in cold climates and extreme weather conditions, in addition to the typical challenges of day-to-day operations of maintaining an efficient and safe road network.  During inclement weather when driving conditions deteriorate, transportation practitioners must ensure the safety, mobility and productivity of winter highways.  They must also understand, address, and mitigate the long-term effects of winter weather and maintenance on the condition and longevity of the infrastructure and equipment. Agencies must find the right balance in meeting multiple goals of – maintenance, safety, mobility, environmental stewardship, infrastructure preservation, and economics.

What We Do

With our in-house research staff and affiliated faculty, we offer inter-disciplinary teams that work to find solutions for complex user needs. Examples of our research experience and capabilities:

  • Cold-climate testing and evaluation of infrastructure construction materials
  • Development of advanced sensors to improve detection and monitoring of severe weather conditions
  • Analyses of the effectiveness and impacts of anti-icing and deicing products
  • Cost-effectiveness studies of winter operation practices
  • Development of winter weather severity indices, and other decision management tools.

Our Research Partners

We work regularly with public, private and academic partners to expand the reach and depth of our multi-disciplinary approach and capabilities.
WTI plays a leadership role in the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Winter Maintenance.

Over the last 20 years, we have produced nationally recognized and relevant research for federal, national, regional, and state sponsors.  We are proud to have long-standing relationships and research partnerships with:

  • ClearRoads Research Consortium
  • Pacific Northwest Snowfighters Association
  • Aurora Consortium
  • USDOT, National Cooperative Highway Research Programs
  • World Bank
  • National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board, Committee on Winter Maintenance
  • American Public Works Association

Contact us to find out how to put this multi-disciplinary group to work for you and fast-track your needs for problem-driven, solution-oriented research.