The Center for Weather Impacts on Mobility and Safety (CWIMS) focuses on research that finds better and safer ways to travel whenever weather is a problem.
The center, which was founded in 2006 by the late Tom Maze, has particular interest in the areas of weather-related traffic safety, traffic operations, maintenance operations, and roadway weather.
CWIMS’ mission is to reduce economic and human losses due to weather-related crashes and traffic delays, improve operations, better understand surface transportation weather, and better prepare transportation students for weather-related issues they may encounter in their careers.
CWIMS regularly collaborates with other Institute for Transportation (InTrans) centers and programs, such as the Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE) and the Real-Time Analytics of Transportation Data (REACTOR) Laboratory, as well as external agencies, such as the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Maintenance, Iowa Environmental Mesonet, and the National Weather Service. CWIMS also administers the Aurora program, which is an international, pooled-fund partnership for research on road weather information systems.
Weather continues to present a significant transportation problem in Iowa, the US, and the world. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Road Weather Management Program estimates that more than 7,000 people are killed and 661,500 people are injured in vehicle crashes on wet, snowy, slushy, or icy pavements in the US annually. The economic impacts of weather events are also substantial, ranging from winter operations costs (more than $2.3 billion annually for local and state agencies) to freight traffic delay (estimated at more the $8 billion). In recent years, the Iowa DOT alone has spent more than $30 million annually on winter operations.
With the expanded availability and resolution of traffic, operations, and weather data, CWIMS is actively exploring new approaches and opportunities to improve travel during inclement weather and the resulting imperfect surface conditions.