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Performance Based Winter Maintenance Operations Decision Making


Measuring performance for winter maintenance operations decision-making is a multidisciplinary process. It involves both earth and atmospheric sciences, multifaceted application of physics and chemistry and effective communication of roadway and weather conditions into the motor vehicle operator’s decision-making process. The global aspects of winter maintenance operations call for an integrated systems approach combining the skills of the meteorologists, operations personnel and motorists. The first section of this paper will briefly outline the nexus of the basic research in the Strategic Highway Research Program, which provided the foundational approach for introducing advanced road weather information equipment and data into the winter maintenance operations process and document the successful implementation of the technology. It will also examine the education and training processes used to change a workforce culture from a reactive winter maintenance response to a proactive/systematic approach that has raised level of service, reduced cost and lessened the negative impact to the environment. Performance indicators will be illustrated and training investments quantified and explained. The second section of the paper will discuss progress being made in field testing a maintenance decision support system which utilizes computer applications of treatment strategy algorithms to assist operation decision makers in optimizing treatment solutions. Rapid computer iterations assist the decision maker faced with quick developing or changing winter storms. The third section of the paper will explore Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) application opportunities for informing motorists of current and forecasted road-weather conditions. Current usage will be documented as well as how the information will likely assist motorists within the next few years with their trip making decisions to improve both mobility and safety.

Conference Paper Details

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