Dreaming of a white Christmas? Or maybe you’re hoping to escape the cold this holiday season? No matter what your perfect holiday looks like, each winter we turn on our TVs and check our weather apps to see snow and hail coming down across America. These storms create poor visibility for drivers, icy roads, and long-term problems with our surface transportation infrastructure systems.
Across the country, we can already see states preparing their infrastructure for fast-approaching winter weather. Massachusetts transportation officials and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation are investing in snow clearing equipment, while Wyoming is proposing investment in safety improvements for collision-prone I-80.
Kansas City has taken winter preparations to the next level by testing pothole detection technology, a preventative maintenance system used to snuff out potholes before they even appear. This cutting-edge technology uses existing traffic cameras to monitor traffic volume, pavement age, weather, collisions, maintenance, and more to anticipate when a pothole will appear. Each year, about 20 to 25 miles of Kansas City roads are resurfaced or repaired. With pothole detection and preventative maintenance technology, the city can be smarter about their maintenance and repair efforts, stretching their $8 million budget to cover 35 to 45 miles of streets per year.
These are just a few examples of states that are preparing to protect their infrastructure in a battle against the ice and snow this winter. With people driving more and vehicle miles traveled at a record high in 2016, we can be thankful that states are taking responsibility and protecting our infrastructure, while we wait for the federal government take initiative.