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Appendix A. Information collected from State DOT Contacts and Websites

Table A-1. Summary of state DOT contacts and iInformation.
State DOT Contact Person Outcome

Arizona (ADOT)

David Engliskis, Traffic Specialist

General statement that ADOT does post weather advisories on DMSs.  Messages are posted for known conditions/
restrictions that affect the road condition or visibility. Examples would be winter storms or poor visibility during a dust storm.

Connecticut (ConnDOT)

Hal Decker, Principal Engineer

Received Scope of Work document for the Bridgeport Operations Center. Does not contain specific DMS policies/procedures.

Florida (FDOT)

Steven Corbin, ITS Operations Manager
Peter Vega, P.E., ITS Operation Manager District 2 TMC Jacksonville

Summary of road weather posting procedures for DMSs. See comments below.

Idaho Transportation Department (ITD)

Steve Holland
Mark Blackshaw, ITS Engineer
Alison Lantz
Traveler Information/511 Coordinator
Jim Larson, Ada County Highway District (ACHD)
Robert Koberline

From website manual published by ITD, criteria for using DMS messages for displaying weather information. See comments below.

Iowa (IDOT)

Willy Sorenson

IDOT’s policy on putting winter-related messages on DMSs.
See comments below.

Missouri (MoDOT)

Don Spenser

Summary of road weather posting procedures for DMSs. See comments below.

Nevada (NDOT)

Michael Fuess, District Traffic Engineer
Connie Hagen, Lead Dispatcher
Road Operations Center
District 2, Dept. of Transportation

Road weather message policy and messages. See comments below.

Oregon (ODOT)

Gayland McGillum, ITS Unit
Kelly Forbes
ITS Operations Coordinator
Intelligent Transportation Systems
Office of Maintenance & Operations

List of road weather messages and link to policy. See comments below.

Texas (TxDOT)

Brian Burk, Austin District
Thelma Rameriz, El Paso District
Robin Frisk, Amarillo District

Examples of road condition messages. See screen captures below.

Utah (UDOT)

David Kinnecom
Traffic Management Engineer
Traffic Operations Center

Summary of use of DMSs. See comments below.

Washington State (WSDOT)

Bill Legg, State ITS Operations Engineer

Information on message policies. See comments below.

 

The following table contains the information provided by each DOT contact. Note that the information that was compatible with the database was incorporated into the database. The table below contains this same information, plus all other information that could not be included in the database.

 

Table A-2. Comments obtained from contacts.
Comments

Florida DOT

  • FDOT does post weather-related messages on their DMSs -- mostly for heavy rain events, limited visibility.
  • Each morning operators check the weather forecast to learn of coming fronts.
  • As the front approaches, operators watch for brake lights in video. When they see, "a lot of brake lights," they know weather is impacting operations. They will then post messages upstream of the area to alert approaching drivers to bad weather.
  • They generally use "canned" messages (waiting to receive list of messages).

Idaho Transportation Department (ITD)

A Traffic Manual published by ITD is available at http://www.itd.idaho.gov/manuals/Online_Manuals/Traffic/Traffic.htm.

  • Inside the manual there is a section of Intelligent Transportation Systems which includes information on DMSs. Table 501.11.01 is a summary of criteria for use of DMS signs. This table lists the following criteria for using DMS messages for displaying weather information:
  • A reduction in visibility to 1000 feet or less (due to either fog or dust)
  • The existence of icy pavement conditions
  • The existence of high wind conditions
  • The manual also states that road conditions messages due to weather are considered a "Traffic Management" priority (3 priority in list of 6).

Also, the TMC located in Boise is operated by ACHD. ACHD is responsible for controlling traffic signal systems and arterial street cameras and (according to the website) has been working with ITD to make this a joint center that controls operations on all arterial streets within Ada County and the Treasure Valley Freeway System.

Iowa DOT

Traffic and Safety Manual, Chapter 2, Permanent Changeable Message Signs Guidelines are available at http://www.iowadot.gov/traffic/manuals/pdf/02f.02.pdf. The excerpt below summarizes use of DMSs for road weather.

“CMSs may be used to display adverse weather, environmental, or roadway conditions downstream that may impact driver visibility and safety (e.g., fog, major snow storms, sand storms, icy roadway, high cross winds, broken pavement, etc.), or advise motorists of specific regulations due to the weather or roadway conditions. Messages, when used, are restricted to a specific location and a specific CMS. The roadway condition must be in the vicinity of the sign in use. General weather, environmental, or roadway condition information (ICY ROAD CONDITIONS AHEAD) is not permitted.

By special arrangement with the National Weather Service it is permissible to display winter weather warnings when they are issued. The Lead Forecaster for the area involved is to make the determination and request that the appropriate sign(s) be activated in accordance with the National Weather Service in Des Moines internal Policy LPI 96-02.”

Also, the policy below was developed for the use of DMSs for weather events.

 

Draft Updated 10-9-08

Chapter XX
DOT Winter Operations and DMS

Non-Winter types of Messages:  During this pilot project of deploying weather messages, only winter related messages will be posted on DMS across Iowa.  In the future he DOT will consider other weather related messages, such as Tornado, Flash Floods, High Winds, Fog, etc.

 

Priority:  Weather messages are 4th on the list of priorities.  Here is the entire list.

  1. Incident information
  2. AMBER Alerts
  3. Advance Road Work/Special Events
  4. Weather
    1. Expect Difficult Driving Conditions messages (Must be recommended by District)
    2. NWS Warnings
    3. Snow Plow Operations in Use – Winter Driving Conditions (Must be done or recommended by District staff)
    4. Snow Plows in use on Medians, Shoulders and Ramps
  5. Public Service Announcements
  6. Test Messages

Responsibilities:

For Winter Storm Warnings:  In the past, the NWS (National Weather Service) has called the 24hr pager (877-999-4731) for District 1 staff in Des Moines and notified the DOT of a Winter Storm Warning.  Beginning on November 1, 2008 the NWS will be directed to call the SEOPs 24/7/365 phone number of (515)-233-7900. 

On some rare occasions, the NWS has been busy, and not called the DOT before a storm.  SEOP Staff should monitor the NWS’s web page at www.nws.noaa.gov during possible storms and will need to determine when and what messages should be deployed. 

For winter snow removal operations: District staff shall post messages, or request the SEOPS Center, on overhead DMS and Rest Area DMS based on their operations and weather in their area.

 

Agreement:

The Iowa DOT and the NWS (National Weather Service) have an informal agreement for posting of warnings on DMS dated 2/1/96 back to when we had DMS in Des Moines only.  A copy of the letters back and forth from the DOT are included in the Appendix of this section.

Time Frames:

Winter storm warnings are usually issued by the NWS many hours before the storm will hit a region.  DOT staff must consider many factors such as storm intensity, location of DMS, regions affected by the storm, etc.  Messages should begin to be displayed on DMS for drivers that will enter the affected region and no other DMS will be seen by the driver.  As a general rule of thumb, NWS warnings should be displayed 2 hours before the warning begins.

 

NWS Winter Weather Events:

National Weather Service Winter Weather Outlook, Watch, Warning and Advisories are:

Definitions from the NWS:

  • Outlook: This information is shared in our daily Hazardous Weather Outlook for weather that may occur from two to seven days out.
  • Watch: This information is sent out when winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours.
  • Warning: Life-threatening severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Using the information found here and on associated links, take action now to make potentially life-saving decisions.
  • Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially for automobiles or early in the winter season. If you are cautious, these situations should not be life-threatening.
  • Heavy Snow Warning:  When snowfall of 6 inched or more in 12 hours or 8 inches or more in 24 hours is imminent or occurring.  These criteria are specific for the Midwest and may vary regionally.

Overhead DMS Messages for each of the above issued events from the NWS:

Outlook:. No messages shall be displayed on the DMS.

Watch: No messages shall be displayed on the DMS.

Warning:   If a warning has been used, then display:

Example message. 1st line: Snow Storm Warning. 2nd line: Until 9PM Today. 3rd line: North / NE Iowa   Or   Example message. 1st line: Heavy Snow Warning. 2nd line: Until 9 AM Monday. 3rd line: North / NE Iowa

After the warning has been used, and snow plows are out, continue to display the storm warning.

Advisory: No messages shall be displayed on the DMS

 

DMS Messages that can be used when DOT Snow plows are out and no NWS warnings:

Example message. 1st line: Snow Removal. 2nd line: Equipment in Use. 3rd line: Use Caution.     Example message. 1st line: Winter. 2nd line: Driving. 3rd line: Conditions.

 

Alternative:  DMS Messages that can be used after a storm when it is not apparent that Snow Plows are on the roadway and ramps.

Example message. 1st line: Snow Plows in Use. 2nd line: On Ramps/Shoulder. 3rd line: Use Caution.

 

What signs should be used to display warnings?

The Iowa DOT staff person who is tasked with deploying winter weather messages has the responsibility and discretion to determine what DMS should get a message.  The message could be displayed on all DMS (overhead and rest area) state-wide, however, consideration should be given to use only the DMS that have the possibility of drivers encountering the storm area.

 

What about “Click it or Ticket” messages and weather is bad?

f any PSA (Public Service Announcement) is being displayed on DMS and the weather is turning bad (snow in the winter, thunder storm/tornados in the summer) DOT staff should remove the message in their area and/or change the message that would be more appropriate.  For example, the “Snow Removal Equipment in Use – Use Caution” message would be appropriate if snow is falling and plows are on the road.

Missouri (MoDOT)

In METRO areas, MoDOT has been considering posting messages for known dramatic weather events (such as a tornado) but has not done so yet.  They generally do not post general weather information (e.g., rain) because they want to reserve DMSs for specific or hazardous conditions.  They will post messages related to ponding on roadway, generally indicating to slow down or do not enter.  They will also post messages related to plowing operations.

From SCOUT TMC, they do manage DMS on I-70 corridor which is used for weather events using a different set of messages.

Nevada DOT

As a rule, NDOT does not post weather-related messages to advise motorists except in some high wind prone areas, when chains are required for snow events, or for potential road closures because of poor visibility due to sand storms (generally right before the road is closed). They have an automated system for posting wind advisory information Washoe Valley between Carson and Reno (See Best Practices in Road Weather Management for description of system).

  • The wind-related messages are: HIGH WIND ADVISORY / NEXT 9 MILES / CAMPERS AND TRAILER / NOT ADVISED or HIGH WIND WARNING / NEXT 9 MILES / CAMPERS AND TRAILERS / PROHIBITED.
  • All of the traction device advisories are basically: CHAINS OR SNOW TIRES REQUIRED / XX MILES AHEAD.

Oregon DOT

The following messages are in the sign library used by the operators in dispatch.  The Variable Message Sign (VMS) Guideline is available at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/pdf/Guidelines_for_VMS_on_State_Highway.pdf.

  • 12 MILES AHEAD CHAINS REQ'D ON VEHS  TOWING OR  OVER 10K GVW
  • 12 MILES AHEAD CHAINS REQ'D TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED VEHS UNDER 10K GVW AND NOT TOWING
  • 16 MILES AHEAD CHAINS REQ'D ON VEHS TOWING OR OVER 10K GVW
  • 16 MILES AHEAD CHAINS REQ'D TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED VEHS UNDER 10K GVW AND NOT TOWING
  • BLOWING DUST AHEAD DUST NEXT 5 MILES
  • BLOWING DUST AHEAD REDUCED VISIBILITY
  • BLOWING DUST AHEAD REDUCED VISIBILITY
  • BLOWING DUST AHEAD SLOW TURN ON LIGHTS
  • BLOWING SNOW AHEAD LOW VISIBILITY
  • BLOWING SNOW AHEAD SLOW TURN ON LIGHTS
  • BLOWING SNOW AHEAD SNOW NEXT 10 MILES
  • BLOWING SNOW AHEAD SNOW NEXT 2 MILES
  • BLOWING SNOW AHEAD SNOW NEXT 3 MILES
  • BLOWING SNOW AHEAD SNOW NEXT 4 MILES
  • BLOWING SNOW AHEAD SNOW NEXT 5 MILES
  • CARRY CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES
  • CARRY CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES 12 MILES AHEAD
  • CARRY CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES 16 MILES  AHEAD
  • CARRY CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES USE CAUTION
  • CAUTION BLACK ICE AHEAD
  • CAUTION FREEZING RAIN AHEAD
  • CAUTION ICE SPOTS US 26 AND HIGHWAY 35
  • CAUTION ICY AREAS  AHEAD 
  • CAUTION ICY CONDITIONS AHEAD
  • CAUTION SPOTS OF ICE AHEAD
  • CHAIN CHECK POINT 2 MILES AHEAD INSTALL CHAINS NOW
  • CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES  REQUIRED 10 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES  REQUIRED 15 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES  REQUIRED 16 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES  REQUIRED 4 MILES  AHEAD
  • CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES  REQUIRED TIMBER- LINE RD
  • CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED HWY 35 & TIMBER- LINE ROAD
  • CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED TIMBERLINE RD AND HIGHWAY 35
  • CHAINS REQD MP XX - XX MP XX - XX VEHS TOWING OR OVER 10,000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQD MP XX - XX MP XX - XX VEHS TOWING OR UNDER 10,000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQ'D ON VEH TOWING OR OVER 10000 XX MILES  AHEAD 
  • CHAINS REQ'D TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED VEHICLES UNDER 10K GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED
  • CHAINS REQUIRED 20 MILES AHEAD EXPECT DELAYS
  • CHAINS REQUIRED 70 MILES AHEAD EXPECT DELAYS
  • CHAINS REQUIRED 9 MILES ASHLAND TRAFFIC USE EXIT 19
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ALL VEHICLES 4X4'S TOWING
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA 12 MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHICLE UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA 18 MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHICLE UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA 2 MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHICLE UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA 24 MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHICLE UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA 6 MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHICLE UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA 7 MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHICLE UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA AT EXIT 252 TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHICLE UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED CHAIN UP AREA XX MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHS UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED HWY 26
  • CHAINS REQUIRED HWY 35
  • CHAINS REQUIRED HWY 35 AND TIMBER- LINE ROAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED INSTALL CHAINS NOW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED MP XX - XX VEHS TOWING OR OVER 10,000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED MP XX - XX VEHS TOWING OR UNDER 10,000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES 4X4'S TOWING CHAINS REQUIRED 2 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES 4X4'S TOWING CHAINS REQUIRED 3 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES 4X4'S TOWING CHAINS REQUIRED 4 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON SINGLE AXLE TRUCKS TRUCKS W/ DOUBLES CHAINS REQUIRED 3 MILES AHEAD ON VEHICLES TOWING
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON SINGLE AXLE TRUCKS TRUCKS W/DOUBLES CHAINS REQUIRED 4 MILES AHEAD ON VEHICLES TOWING
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEH TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW 12 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEH TOWING OR OVER 10K GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CHAIN UP AREA 12 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CHAIN UP AREA 24 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CHAIN UP AREA 6 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CHAIN UP AREA 7 MILES AHEAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CHAIN UP AREA AT EXIT 244
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CHAIN UP AREA AT EXIT 249
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CHAIN UP AREA AT EXIT 252
  • CHAINS REQUIRED ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10000 GVW CONGESTION THROUGH TRAFFIC USE LEFT LANE
  • CHAINS REQUIRED SINGLE AXLE TRKS TRUCKS W/DOUBLES CHAINS REQUIRED 2 MILES AHEAD VEHICLES TOWING
  • CHAINS REQUIRED SINGLE AXLE TRUCKS 4X4'S TOWING
  • CHAINS REQUIRED TIMBER- LINE ROAD
  • CHAINS REQUIRED TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEHS UNDER 10,000 GVW AND NOT TOWING
  • CHAINS REQUIRED TRUCKS WITH DOUBLES
  • CHAINS REQUIRED XX MILES AHEAD TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEH UNDER 10000 GVW
  • CLOSED TO  OVERSIZED  USE EXIT 216 CHAINS REQUIRED XX MILES AHEAD
  • CLOSED TO OVERSIZE DUE TO FOG USE EXIT 216
  • CLOSED TO OVERSIZE DUE TO FOG USE EXIT 216 CHAINS REQUIRED ON TRUCKS  XX MILES AHEAD
  • CLOSED TO OVERSIZE DUE TO FOG USE EXIT 265
  • CLOSED TO OVERSIZE DUE TO FOG USE EXIT 265 CHAINS REQUIRED ON TRUCKS  XX MILES AHEAD
  • CONDITIONAL CLOSURE ALL VEHICLES MUST USE CHAINS
  • DENSE FOG AHEAD FOG NEXT 1 MILE
  • DENSE FOG AHEAD LOW VISIBILITY
  • DENSE FOG AHEAD SLOW TURN ON LIGHTS
  • DENSE FOG AHEAD USE CAUTION
  • DENSE FOG XX MILES AHEAD
  • EXTREME ICY COND USE CAUTION
  • EXTREMELY ICY CONDITIONS USE CAUTION
  • EXTREMELY ICY CONDITIONS XX MILES AHEAD
  • FOG AHEAD FOG NEXT 10 MILES
  • FOG AHEAD FOG NEXT 2 MILES
  • FOG AHEAD FOG NEXT 3 MILES
  • FOG AHEAD FOG NEXT 4 MILES
  • FOG AHEAD FOG NEXT 5 MILES
  • FREEWAY CLOSED USE EXIT 216  2 MILES AHEAD
  • FREEZING FOG AHEAD EXTREME HAZARD
  • FREEZING FOG EXTREME HAZARD
  • FREEZING FOG WEATHER EXTREME HAZARD
  • I-84 CLOSED TO OVERSIZE LOADS XX MILES AHEAD DENSE FOG
  • ICE ON BRIDGE SLOW
  • ICE ON ROAD AHEAD SLOW TURN ON LIGHTS
  • MEACHAM CLOSED TO ALL OVERSIZE DUE TO FREEZING  FOG
  • MEACHAM CLOSED TO ALL OVERSIZE DUE TO ROAD  CONDITIONS
  • OR 58 CHAINS REQ ON VEHICLES TOWING OR OVER 10KGVW
  • OR 58 CHAINS REQ TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED VEHS UNDER 10K GVW AND NOT TOWING
  • POSSIBLE BLACK ICE USE CAUTION
  • POSSIBLE FREEZING FOG USE CAUTION
  • ROAD FLOODED SLOW
  • SEVERE WINTER CONDITIONS AHEAD
  • SEVERE WINTER WEATHER AHEAD
  • SLIPPERY RAMP AHEAD WARNING
  • SLIPPERY ROAD AHEAD WARNING
  • SNOW AND ICE NEXT XX MILES USE CAUTION
  • SNOW BLOWERS AHEAD DO NOT PASS
  • SNOW BLOWERS AHEAD USE LEFT LANE
  • SNOW BLOWERS AHEAD USE RIGHT LANE
  • SNOW PLOW AHEAD DO NOT PASS
  • SNOW REMOVAL EQUIPMENT NEXT XX MILES TRUCKS USE RIGHT LANE ONLY
  • SNOW ZONE AHEAD CARRY CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES
  • SNOW ZONE CARRY CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED 10 MILES AHEAD
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED 15 MILES AHEAD
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED 4 MILES AHEAD
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED 6 MILES AHEAD
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED HIGHWAY 35
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS OR TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED ON TIMBERLINE RD
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQD ON VEHS TOWING OR OVER 10,000 GVW
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED TRACTION TIRES ALLOWED ON VEH UNDER 10,000 GVW
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED ALL VEHICLES
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED HIGHWAY 26
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED HIGHWAY 35
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED HIGHWAY 35 AND TIMBERLINE RD
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED TIMBERLINE RD
  • SNOW ZONE CHAINS REQUIRED UND 10K TRACTION TIRES OK
  • WATCH FOR ICE ICE NEXT 1 MILE
  • WATCH FOR ICE ICE NEXT 2 MILES
  • WATCH FOR ICE ICE NEXT 3 MILES
  • WATCH FOR ICE ICE NEXT 4 MILES
  • WATCH FOR ICE ICE NEXT 5 MILES
  • WATER CROSSING ROAD SLOW
  • WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS AHEAD

Texas (TxDOT)

Icy Bridges

Screen capture of DMS computer application interface showing weather message for Icy Bridges. 1st line: Watch for Ice. 2nd line: On Bridges. 3rd line: Use Caution.

 

Flood

Screen capture of DMS computer application interface showing alternating weather weather messages for Flood, First messge: 1st line: Flooding. 2nd line: Possible. 3rd line: This Week. Second message: 1st line: If Water on Rd. 2nd line: Turn Around. 3rd line: Don't Drown.

 

Ozone

Screen capture of DMS computer application interface showing weather message for Ozone conditions. 1st line: Ozone. 2nd line: Day. 3rd line: Today.

Screen capture of DMS computer application interface showing alternating weather messages for Ozone conditions. First messge: 1st line: Ozone Action. 2nd line: Day. 3rd line: Today. Second message: 1st line: Ride the Bus. 2nd line: Vanpool-Bicycle. 3rd line: Carpool.

Screen capture of DMS computer application interface showing alternating weather messages for Ozone conditions. First messge: 1st line: Ozone Action. 2nd line: Day. 3rd line: Tomorrow. Second message: 1st line: Ride the Bus. 2nd line: Carpool-Bicycle. 3rd line: Vanpool.

Utah DOT

  • At the request of the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), DMSs were used to post advisory speeds during snow storms in mountain passes, but the practice was stopped after UHP Administration felt that posting an advisory speed could limit their ability to enforce "unsafe driving for conditions" citations.
  • UDOT does NOT use DMS signs with weather conditions that are obvious (i.e., Snowing, Use Caution).  They only use signs to warn motorists when a condition is UNEXPECTED. For example, signs will generally be used at night a day or two after a storm where moisture in the air or snow runnoff might cause black ice to form. If conditions are right for Black ice to possibly form, the message is "BLACK ICE POSSIBLE USE CAUTION" or "ICY BRIDGE POSSIBLE USE CAUTION." If presence of black ice is known (observed by spinouts by video or reports from UHP) message is "BLACK ICE REDUCE SPEED."
  • UDOT also uses DMSs to warn motorists of unexpected dramatic change. For example, it may be raining in the valley but snowing heavily in the mountain pass. They use signs to warn approaching motorists.  Message is "WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS AHEAD X MILES."
  • UDOT also uses DMSs to advise motorists of four-wheel drive/chain law restrictions. UHP does not consider DMSs to be legally enforceable. In this application, UDOT always has regulatory signs with flashers activated and uses DMSs as a supplement to the signs.
  • UDOT has used DMSs to warn of flooding conditions (section of roadways that are flat and susceptible to ponding). Operators know where these locations are and what conditions cause flooding. If these conditions are suspected by an operator, the message might be "FLOODING POSSIBLE USE CAUTION".  If the condition is known, the message is "FLOODING AHEAD REDUCE SPEED"
  • In the Western desert area, the highway runs east-west through flat open sections. They get strong winds from the south that have been known to turn semis over.  UHP will close highway to trucks.  When this occurs, UHP will notify UDOT that the highway is closed to semis. UDOT will post messages on DMSs when this occurs using a message such as "HIGH WINDS CLOSED TO SEMIS."

Washington (WSDOT)

In general, WSDOT does not post weather-related messages on their VMSs, per the statewide VMS policy.

Weather related hazards shall only be displayed if there is a need to inform motorists of an unexpected condition. VMSs will not generally be used to display road conditions due to apparent weather (e.g. icy roads during freezing winter weather). An exception may be to alert motorists to hazardous weather-related roadway conditions IF identifying a specific location, and using a specific sign (e.g. using the SR-3 N. sign with the following message "Ice on Roadway, 3 miles ahead at Sherman Hill" or the SR-16 VMS for "Severe side winds at Narrows Bridge") and the information is received and verified from reliable sources.

Below are some, but not all, specific messages that may be used. The approach is to post messages for conditions that would be unexpected.  For example, if motorists have been driving in fog for several miles they would not typically see a VMS message about fog, the message would have shown up on a sign ahead of entering the fog condition.

  • Areas of Dense Fog/Poor visibility
  • Compact Snow and Ice
  • Blowing Dust/Poor Visibility
  • Limited Visibility
  • Areas of Standing Water
  • Standing Water on Roadway
  • Slush on Roadway
  • Ice on Roadway
  • Severe Side Winds
Note that many of these messages may be followed by "Ahead" depending on the location of the problem related to the location of the sign.

 

Table A-3. State DOT website weather information elements.
State Is there a Daily Weather Update? Is a map shown on the weather page? Is weather information for specific locations provided? Are road weather conditions on Interstate highways provided on a dedicated map or table? Are road weather conditions for state, local or other roads provided on a dedicated map or table? Does weather information include links to other states or regions? Are special conditions noted (e.g., hurricanes, snow, tornadoes)?
Alabama     Checkmark       Checkmark
Alaska Checkmark Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Arizona              
Arkansas       Checkmark Checkmark    
California           Checkmark Checkmark
Colorado Checkmark   Checkmark     Checkmark  
Connecticut Checkmark   Checkmark        
Delaware Checkmark            
District of Columbia (Washington DC)             Checkmark
Florida             Checkmark
Georgia Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark     Checkmark Checkmark
Hawaii              
Idaho   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Illinois       Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Indiana Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Iowa   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Kansas Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Kentucky   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Louisiana Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Maine     Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Maryland Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Massachusetts              
Michigan   Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Minnesota Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Mississippi Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark        
Missouri       Checkmark Checkmark    
Montana Checkmark   Checkmark       Checkmark
Nebraska Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Nevada   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
New Hampshire Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark     Checkmark  
New Jersey   Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark    
New Mexico   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
New York   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
North Carolina   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
North Dakota   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark  
Ohio   Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark    
Oklahoma       Checkmark Checkmark    
Oregon   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Pennsylvania              
Rhode Island Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
South Carolina Checkmark Checkmark          
South Dakota Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Tennessee   Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark    
Texas Checkmark     Checkmark Checkmark    
Utah   Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark    
Vermont   Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark    
Virginia Checkmark     Checkmark Checkmark    
Washington State Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
West Virginia Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Wisconsin Checkmark   Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark    
Wyoming Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark   Checkmark
*Total “Checkmark 23 28 29 35 35 14 7
**Percent “Checkmark 45% 55% 57% 69% 69% 27% 14%

 

 

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