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University of Utah: "Drivers’ awareness of and response to significant weather events and the correlation of weather to road impacts."


While weather events clearly have major impacts on travel conditions, the impacts are not solely related to such things as snowfall amounts or intensity. Other factors, such as day of week (weekday versus weekend), timing of the snowfall (during commute times versus middle of the night) and road temperatures (potential for black ice formation), play a significant role with respect to the societal impacts associated with an event. Furthermore, driver behavior can exacerbate or mitigate the extent of weather-related congestion. This project brings together the University of Utah, the NWS, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), and NorthWest Weathernet to investigate and understand the relationship between meteorological phenomena and road conditions, as well as public understanding and response to the forecast. Drivers will be surveyed about the weather information they received during a winter storm and their perception and behavior to messages conveyed by the NWS and UDOT. The results will provide insight on how the weather enterprise may more effectively communicate hazard information to the public.