Intelligent Transportation Systems and Winter Maintenance Operations Management

International Scanning Tour, Sapporo, Japan 2002

Diana Clonch
Operations Manager, Transportation Division
City of Columbus, Ohio
Chair, APWA Winter Maintenance Subcommittee

Since 1990, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have cooperated in the International Scanning Program. This program connects U.S. highway and transportation officials with their counterparts throughout the world. The purpose of the program is to meet with international experts in their venue, gather information on innovative practices, understand them better, and evaluate them within the U.S. context. Over 42 scans have been completed since the start of the program, many leading to some very remarkable advancements that have been adopted or are under evaluation today.

Various areas of technology have been included within scan tours and studies over the past decade, including but not limited to: pavement and materials, contracting and financing, geotechnology, traffic safety and design, bridge technology and winter road maintenance. Most recently completed was the third international Winter Maintenance Scanning Tour (1994, 1998 and 2002) to Sapporo, Japan, conducted under the auspices of the FHWA's International Outreach Program and the AASHTO-sponsored NCHRP 20-36, Highway Research and Technology-International Information Sharing Program.

A twelve-member U.S. panel was comprised of individuals representing FHWA, the National Weather Service, AASHTO, academia, APWA, the National Association of County Engineers, and private sector professionals. The team spent 15 days in Sapporo (January 24 to February 8), participated in SIRWEC and PIARC (International Road Weather Conference and International Winter Road Congress), and conducted in-depth technical discussions, meetings and site visits with the Japanese and European counterparts regarding advanced technologies.

Scan objectives were to explore the development and evaluation of advance road condition measurements, chemical application equipment, typical winter operations techniques and the integration of these efforts within other aspects of transportation operations, and to develop a formalized process for implementation of the scan team's findings and recommendations. Within this formalized process, the team has already identified various innovative technologies and is currently making recommendation for further development, sponsorship and implementation. Additionally, the team members are actively involved in disseminating scan findings and recommendations within their respective professional organizations and geographical areas of work. The 2002 APWA North American Snow Conference as well as the recent National Congress in Kansas City included technical sessions on the scan tour.

The scan process includes that findings be compiled into a scan report. Currently the draft from the Sapporo Scan is being developed for submittal to FHWA and, once reviewed and approved, will be published and distributed in coordination with AASHTO and NCHRP Project 20-36 to relevant groups in the U.S. transportation community. Publication is scheduled for early fall. Reports are available through the FHWA Office of International Programs and most can be accessed on their website at

To reach Diana Clonch, call (614) 645-6395 or send e-mail to