About the research
The safety and traffic-flow service qualities of a freeway segment are a function of its prevailing conditions. Good weather, adequate pavement conditions, and an incident-free environment are assumed. Unfortunately, there are many time periods of varying length in which these assumptions are incorrect, and the mobility and safety of a freeway segment are compromised. A more comprehensive knowledge of how poor weather, snow and ice events in particular, impacts the safety and service provided by a freeway will improve the decision-making capabilities of the traveler and those responsible for roadway operations and maintenance. This project will study the traffic characteristics and crash occurrences during winter storm events within the freeway environment. The ability to estimate the operation and safety characteristics of a roadway based on readily available environmental data should assist in the development of winter maintenance standards and policies based on roadway user impacts. In addition, more quantifiable and informed resource allocation and operational-safety response decisions can be made. Based on data from the past, the impacts of a winter storm on traffic volumes and crash occurrence rates will be evaluated and quantified.