Making roads safer with responsive technology

The Challenge 

Stormy weather can make driving dangerous and difficult even on the best of roads. About one-fifth of crashes are weather related—they occur in rain, sleet, snow, high winds, fog, or on slick streets. About 6,000 people are killed and 445,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year. Westat is supporting the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as it develops and evaluates practical approaches that states can use to reduce the impact of adverse weather on driving.

Our Solutions 

  • Westat is working to improve the linkages between “weather-responsive traffic management” (WRTM) programs and new vehicle communication technologies to better warn drivers, control traffic, and clear roads during bad weather. The new vehicle technologies let vehicles “talk” to each other or to roadside electronic devices, and traffic operations centers.
  • We are examining how drivers respond to these new ways of transmitting messages about the weather and how well they understand the messages.

The Results 

  • Our expertise in both new vehicle technologies and in how people make decisions is enabling us to help FHWA to develop effective guidelines for states to use in providing weather-responsive driving messages.
  • Our efforts will help state agencies as they develop new and improved methods to reduce traffic congestion and enhance driving safety, especially during bad weather.

Our Client 

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)