Hazardous weather conditions represent a major hazard to US drivers, leading to approximately 1,500,000 crashes, 673,000 injuries, and more than 7,100 deaths in an average year. These statistics far exceed the average annual mortality totals of all other major weather–related conditions (e.g., heat, tornado, hurricane) combined (~570), and clearly highlight the need for aggressive measures to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with driving in hazardous–weather conditions. Additionally, hazardous weather conditions lead to 554 million vehicle–hours of delay per year and cost trucking companies in the range of $8 billion annually. Since the late 1990s, RAL has played a pivotal national role bringing the surface transportation and weather communities together to increase traffic safety, efficiency, and mobility. Our immediate goal is to continue to work with the surface transportation stakeholders in a proactive manner to implement a research agenda that addresses national and international needs for improved surface transportation weather services for the surface transportation community and the traveling public. Currently, RAL is conducting surface transportation weather research in two main areas:
RAL will work to accelerate the adoption of the MDSS technology across the nation and internationally and extend this technology by developing transportation decision support systems focusing on traffic, incident, and emergency management and maintenance beyond snow and ice control.
RAL aims to become the central focus for research and development for the weather component of Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) connected vehicle technology program.
Surface Transportation Weather