December 2003. For more information on the RWFS, the reader is directed to Appendix
A of the MDSS Prototype Release-3.0 Technical Description (see reference in Table 4.1).
DATA COLLECTION PROCESS
The national labs were responsible for analyzing the MDSS technical performance. A
critical component of the verification process was the collection of weather, road
condition, and actual treatment data. During the winter 2003 field demonstration, Iowa
DOT personnel were primarily responsible for collecting the road condition and
treatment data using special data collection forms. This process put a large burden on the
DOT staff during winter storms. The data collection process during the winter of 2003-
2004 was changed to reduce the impact on DOT staff. In addition, road condition data
were only collected for a subset of the total routes supported by the prototype MDSS as
described earlier in this document. This was designed to allow for a more intensive data
collection process so that a more thorough analysis of the road conditions before and after
treatment could be performed.
The Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE) provided support for the
demonstration effort, particularly in the area of verification data collection and
processing. In addition, the University of Iowa, Dr. Wilfred Nixon, provided feedback to
the development team on the MDSS, particularly the road condition and treatment
module, which contains the rules of practice for anti-icing and deicing.
The MDSS field demonstration began following a demonstration readiness telecom on 30
December 2003. A daily summary of the weather, DOT actions, system issues and
software updates is provided in Appendix B.
The first weather event occurred on 7 January 2004 and the last weather event occurred
on 16 March 2004. There was excellent diversity in the type of cases this year. Central
Iowa experienced heavy and light snow events, mixed rain and snow, brief freezing rain,
refreezing water on the road, and several blowing and drifting snow events. There were
15 winter weather event days during the course of the 88 day demonstration.
The MDSS operated quite well throughout the period; however, there were several
periods when the supplemental mesoscale models from FSL were unavailable, primarily
due to hardware problems associated with the computer cluster. An evaluation of the
impact of these models on the MDSS performance is provided later in this report.
To facilitate the collection of weather and road condition data during the field program
several MDSS project members traveled to Iowa to participate in the field program. A list
of the personnel that participated in the field program is provided in Table 8.1.