Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersMaking Winter Driving Safer – Establishing Performance Standards for Winter Maintenance

Making Winter Driving Safer – Establishing Performance Standards for Winter Maintenance


In a series of collaborative trial projects that started in the winter of 2013/14, Alberta Transportation and the province’s highway maintenance contractors developed and tested performance standards for winter highway maintenance. Drivers will benefit from the introduction of performance standards for winter maintenance through anticipating, and experiencing, more consistent driving conditions during the winter. Performance standards will also allow consistent educational and public awareness messaging, which will in turn promote safer trip planning.
Various types of performance measures are either in place or are being tested in Alberta, ranging from input measures (i.e. material stockpiling) through process measures (i.e. response times), output measures (i.e. time to return to specified conditions), surrogate outcome measures (i.e. surface friction) and true outcome measures (i.e. travel speeds). Alberta benefited from experience with established technologies like Automated Vehicle Location Systems, Traveler Information Systems, and precision forecasting/Maintenance Decision Support Systems when developing the trial performance standards. In addition, supporting management tools were developed as part of the performance standards trials. These include a Winter Severity Index that can be used on both provincial & local scales, and Storm Classification that allows the contractors to work towards different performance targets, depending on the severity of each storm event.
The paper will describe performance standards that are under development for various phases of winter maintenance work planning and execution, and discuss some of the implications of using performance standards in a contracted delivery system. Results of the different trial projects are presented, with concluding remarks on the safety benefits from the introduction of formal performance standards.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Winter Road Maintenance - Getting You There Safely
Otto, S.
Construction, Maintenance and operations