Weather has a major impact on traffic flow in Ohio. ODOT uses weather forecasts to schedule road crews and equipment appropriately. ODOT also monitors current weather conditions to adjust utilization of resources in real time. Current weather conditions are primarily collected through roadside weather collection devices. These devices comprise Ohio’s Road Weather Information System (RWIS). RWIS provides weather and pavement conditions from over 175 stations around the state along ODOT-maintained roadways. RWIS is the critical tool for proactive monitoring of weather conditions around the state and the information provided by RWIS is essential to making numerous management decisions.
RWIS observations are collected every five minutes to provide real time road and weather conditions information to ODOT personnel and the general public. Among the data collected is air temperature, dew point, wind speed and direction, precipitation type and intensity, visibility, road surface temperature, subsurface temperature, and road surface condition. This information is primarily crucial to snow and ice removal efforts but also continues to become more crucial to traffic management strategies. The data is also a critical tool in the process of evaluating snow and ice removal efforts.
Weather conditions are posted on highway message boards when conditions are expected to impact traffic for a particular region.