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MDSS—the U.S. Success Story


The purpose of this paper is to capture the current state of development of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Maintenance Decision Support Systems (MDSS), deployment of MDSS by vendors and the Pooled Fund Study (PFS), document the acceptance and successes in the winter maintenance community, identify research and development issues that need to be worked, and pose a series of actions that need to be taken towards developing and implementing other weather-responsive transportation decision support systems. The paper will explore the original need for developing the MDSS, explain the role and importance of the multidisciplinary stakeholder process in bringing together state-of-the-art weather forecasting techniques with computerized winter maintenance practices for treatment recommendations, and report successes in deploying MDSS first in the prairie states during the winters from 2003 through 2007 and then in the more challenging weather climates found in the mountainous regions of Colorado in 2005-2007. The paper will also discuss processes underway for obtaining input from experts in the field of maintenance outside of snow and ice control to assist in defining the capabilities that should be delivered in a more comprehensive maintenance decision support system. It is envisioned that other areas such as construction management and traffic management will leverage the lessons learned and the technologies generated from the development of the FHWA MDSS to develop their Operational Decision Support Systems. The paper will explore the benefits of using road weather management strategies to mitigate impacts of adverse weather in these non-maintenance operational areas. The MDSS program development process has been an extraordinary success. The multi-disciplinary stakeholder group has stayed together for more than seven years. Each year attendance and interest at the annual meeting continues to grow. The term MDSS is recognized internationally as weather and surface transportation integration and decision support. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Technology Implementation Group (TIG) evaluated and determined that the MDSS project is a market ready technology and innovation. Currently, three value added meteorological services vendors offer MDSS and MDSS-type services in their product lines. Boschung, LLC, is developing an MDSS for the European market that is based on the FHWA MDSS.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Smithson, L.D
Construction, Maintenance and operations