The ability to predict the onset of icy conditions is an essential prerequisite for the efficient use of winter maintenance resources. Work on a computer model of the heat and mass transfer at the road surface began in 1978, when comparisons were made between predictions from the model and observations at a site on the M4 motorway at Theale. Since then the model has been further developed and applied to a range of situations culminating in 1984/85 in an operational trial in which the Meteorological Office used it to provide forecasts for the West Midlands County Council. The trials have shown that the computer model can, by forecasting for a number of specific locations, improve the forecasting capability above the existing high standard provided by the Meteorological Office. The trial has also demonstrated that the system provides an efficient mechanism for combining meteorological data and information from road sensors, and transmitting forecasts and monitoring data to Highway Authorities when needed. (A)

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