Towards the development of an impact-based decision support tool for surface-transportation hazards. Part I: Tying Weather Variables to Road Hazards and Quantifying Impacts

Dana M. Tobin aCooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Boulder, CO
bWeather Prediction Center, College Park, MD

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Joshua S. Kastman bWeather Prediction Center, College Park, MD

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James A. Nelson bWeather Prediction Center, College Park, MD

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Heather D. Reeves cCooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations, University of Oklahoma, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK

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Abstract

Development of an impact-based decision support forecasting tool for surface-transportation hazards requires consideration for what impacts the product is intended to capture, and how to scale forecast information to impacts to then categorize impact severity. In this first part of the series, we discuss the motivation and intent of such a product, in addition to outlining the approach we take to leverage existing and new research to develop the product. Traffic disruptions (e.g., crashes, increased travel times, roadway restrictions or closures) are the intended impacts, where impact severity levels are intended to scale to reflect the increasing severity of adverse driving conditions that can correlate with a need for enhanced mitigation efforts by motorists and/or transportation agencies (e.g., slowing down, avoiding travel, imposing roadway restrictions or closures). Previous research on how weather and road conditions impact transportation – and novel research herein to create a metric for crash impact based on precipitation type and local hour of the day – are both intended to help scale weather forecasts to impacts. Impact severity classifications can ultimately be determined through consideration of any thresholds used by transportation agencies, in conjunction with the scaling metrics.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dana M. Tobin, dana.tobin@noaa.gov

Abstract

Development of an impact-based decision support forecasting tool for surface-transportation hazards requires consideration for what impacts the product is intended to capture, and how to scale forecast information to impacts to then categorize impact severity. In this first part of the series, we discuss the motivation and intent of such a product, in addition to outlining the approach we take to leverage existing and new research to develop the product. Traffic disruptions (e.g., crashes, increased travel times, roadway restrictions or closures) are the intended impacts, where impact severity levels are intended to scale to reflect the increasing severity of adverse driving conditions that can correlate with a need for enhanced mitigation efforts by motorists and/or transportation agencies (e.g., slowing down, avoiding travel, imposing roadway restrictions or closures). Previous research on how weather and road conditions impact transportation – and novel research herein to create a metric for crash impact based on precipitation type and local hour of the day – are both intended to help scale weather forecasts to impacts. Impact severity classifications can ultimately be determined through consideration of any thresholds used by transportation agencies, in conjunction with the scaling metrics.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Dana M. Tobin, dana.tobin@noaa.gov
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