Departments of Transportation (DOTs) need to mobilize workers under harsh weather conditions for winter operations. Traditional snowplow driver training at INDOT is usually conducted annually before the snow season; therefore, it does not replicate the conditions which drivers will be exposed to during winter operations. To this point, some state DOTs have incorporated simulators in their snowplow driver training. Despite this raised interest, few studies have (1) surveyed other state DOTs about the use of this equipment in winter operations driver training, or (2) provided a systematic consideration of all factors involved in the decision to use driving simulators in snowplow driver training. To fill these gaps, the present study synthesizes information from previous literature, revises current information from INDOT, and surveys other state DOTs to identify the benefits and challenges of driving simulators for snowplow driver training. A mixed methods approach was utilized including a review of current INDOT practices, interviews with stakeholders, a survey of other state DOTs, and results from a pilot training. Based on the findings, the researchers recommend that INDOT continues to explore the use of driving simulators for training purposes in addition to the yearly snowplow driver training, due the ability to reinforce learning in a safe environment. Moreover, the research team suggests the following areas for further research: evaluating optimal simulator “seat time,” peer learning in simulator training, and the impact of experience level and work assignment in the perception of driving simulator training effectiveness.

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snow and ice control, winter maintenance, technology transfer, specialized training, driving simulator

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version