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Development of a Toolkit for Cost-Benefit Analysis of Specific Winter Maintenance Practices, Equipment and Operations

Started: December, 2008 Ended: August, 2010 Project ID #4W2455 Status: Completed

Results & Findings

This project is expected to benefit states by simplifying the process by which cost-benefit analysis can be completed. The toolkit will calculate the costs and benefits associated with winter maintenance practices, equipment and operations; by providing this information in an understandable format, managers will be able to justify expenditures on new products and technologies. In addition, this information will help winter highway maintenance engineers to make more informed decisions regarding new products. Such evaluations will also help users understand how a product may work in their operations and help better match practices, equipment and/or operations to their specific roadway environment and level-of-service requirements. In the long-term, DOT personnel who use the toolkit to select the optimal practices, equipment and operations may be able to improve the level of service, reduce the winter maintenance costs, and reduce the corrosion and environmental impacts due to snow and ice control operations.


The objective of this project is to help the Wisconsin DOT, along with its partner states in the Clear Roads pooled fund program, develop a toolkit to facilitate cost-benefit analysis for winter maintenance managers.


The operators and maintainers of our highway networks are facing increasing demands and consumer expectations regarding mobility and transportation safety, especially during inclement weather, while also confronting unprecedented budget and staffing constraints and a growing awareness of environmental challenges related to chemical and material usage. Maintenance agencies are also continually challenged to provide a high level of service (LOS) and improve safety and mobility in a cost-effective manner. To this end, it is desirable to use the most recent advances in the application of anti-icing and deicing materials, winter maintenance equipment and vehicle-based sensor technologies, and road weather information systems (RWIS) as well as other decision support systems. This project will develop a toolkit that will provide winter maintenance managers a means by which to evaluate and justify expenditures on a variety of practices, equipment and operations. Specifically, this research aims to establish a practical toolkit that can be employed by maintenance managers not only to understand the expected costs and benefits of specific practices, equipment, or operations (either individually or in combination), but also to convey those expectations to decision-makers outside the maintenance community. The toolkit will include costs and benefits for new practices, equipment, and operations, as well as provide a means to be expandable in the future to include additional winter maintenance elements as needed. The team will complete the project by conducting a literature search and survey of best practices, developing the toolkit and methodologies, and leading training sessions.


Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

Part of: Winter Maintenance and Effects, Cold Climate Operations & Systems

Project Tagged In: cost-benefit analysis, Winter maintenance toolkit, snow and ice control operations

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