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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Public Roads - March/April 2005

March/April 2005
Issue No:
Vol. 68 No. 5
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Communication Product Updates

Communication Product Updates

by Zac Ellis of FHWA's Office of Research and Technology Services

Below are brief descriptions of products recently published online by the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of Research, Development, and Technology. Some of the publications also may be available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). In some cases, limited copies are available from the Research and Technology (R&T) Product Distribution Center.

When ordering from NTIS, include the NTIS publication number (PB number) and the publication title. You also may visit the NTIS Web site at to order publications online. Call NTIS for current prices. For customers outside the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the cost is usually double the listed price. Address requests to:

National Technical Information Service

5285 Port Royal Road

Springfield, VA 22161

Telephone: 703–605–6000

Toll-free number: 800–553–NTIS (6847)

Address requests for items available from the R&T Product Distribution Center to:

R&T Product Distribution Center, HRTS-03

Federal Highway Administration

9701 Philadelphia Court, Unit Q

Lanham, MD 20706

Telephone: 301–577–0818

Fax: 301–577–1421

For more information on research and technology publications from FHWA, visit the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center's (TFHRC) Web site at, FHWA's Web site at, the National Transportation Library's Web site at, or the OneDOT information network at

Identifying and Assessing Key Weather-Related Parameters and Their Impacts on Traffic Operations Using Simulation

Publication No. FHWA-HRT-04-131

The objectives of this study were to identify how weather events affect traffic operations, to assess the sensitivity of weather-related traffic parameters in the CORridor SIMulation (CORSIM) traffic microsimulation model, and to develop guidelines for using the model to account for the effects of adverse weather conditions on traffic operations.

The report summarizes the methodologies, findings, and conclusions for each of these study objectives, including the finding that CORSIM can accurately model the effects of weather events on traffic operations. This conclusion was based on the fact that a majority of the generic key weather-related parameters identified in the study currently are available in CORSIM, and that those parameters are adequately sensitive in producing model outputs in line with the expected results of adverse weather.

Collaborative Research on Road Weather Observations and Predictions by Universities, State DOTs, and National Weather Service Forecast Offices

Publication No. FHWA-HRT-04-109

Collaborative Research on Road Weather Observations and Predictions by Universities, State DOTs, and National Weather Service Forecast Offices coverFHWA's Road Weather Management Program partnered with the National Weather Service (NWS) to sponsor five research projects through the Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training. The goal was to create teams of personnel from State departments of transportation (DOTs), NWS Weather Forecast Offices, and universities to foster collaborative and productive relationships between meteorological and transportation agencies.

The teams used data from road weather information systems to find new ways of utilizing such data in both weather and transportation operations and predictive algorithms for use in road maintenance activities. Advances in road weather management ultimately will improve mobility on the roads and DOT productivity in operations.

Enhanced Abutment Scour Studies For Compound Channels

Publication No. FHWA-RD-99-156

Enhanced Abutment Scour Studies For Compound Channels coverThis report provides experimental results and analyses on bridge abutment scour in compound channels. Researchers conducted the studies using a laboratory flume with a cross section consisting of a wide flood plain adjacent to a main channel. Researchers varied the length of the channel embankments, discharge, size of the sediment, and the shape of the abutments, while measuring the resulting equilibrium scour depths. Water surface profiles, velocities, and scour-hole contours also were measured.

The report describes the methodology used to estimate abutment scour, a process that takes into account the redistribution of discharge in the bridge contraction, as well as abutment shape, sediment size, and tailwater depth. The independent variables in the proposed scour formula were evaluated at the approach-channel cross section and obtained from a one-dimensional, water-surface profile computer program. The report illustrates and outlines the procedures used, including consideration of the time required to reach equilibrium scour. The proposed methodology is then applied to two cases of measured scour in the field.