Essential functions of MDSS
- Road conditions – MDSS accepts current road condition observations from manual sources, snowplow-mounted sensors, and GPS location-based equipment.
- Maintenance treatments – Plowing and chemical applications are reported manually or by instrumented snowplows.
- Weather conditions – MDSS considers current and recent weather conditions affecting the road surface.
- Roadway state – Physical and chemical models take into account factors like the pavement, the mix of water, ice, chemicals, and grit, to better predict temperature, moisture type and depth, and chemical concentration.
- Feasible treatments – MDSS considers maintenance treatments that fall within agency-defined constraints for equipment, materials, operating hours, and crew size for each road segment.
- Agency priorities – MDSS considers the acceptable levels of service for each highway segment.
- Predict road surface behavior – MDSS physical and chemical models predict the future behavior of road surfaces for every feasible maintenance treatment.
- Treatment recommendations – MDSS recommends the most cost-effective treatments to maintenance supervisors and truck operators that will safely maintain the level of service.
The potential for significant cost savings and improved serviceA case study of five New Hampshire winters showed that MDSS use would have required 23% less salt while providing the same level of service — AND an overall cost/benefit ratio of 8:1. In its deployment of MDSS in 2008-2009, Indiana estimated an overall savings of $11 million — 27% of its winter budget.
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