14-07: Identifying Best Practices for Snowplow Route Optimization

Problem

Roadway snow and ice control (RSIC) constitutes a substantial expenditure for many northern and Midwestern states throughout the winter and spring months. Properly maintaining the roadways in these states involves complicated decisions regarding the staging, routing, and refueling of the RSIC vehicle fleets that are responsible for plowing roadways and spreading chemicals and abrasives. Optimizing statewide RSIC operations includes three distinct problems: 1) how best to divide the network into service territories, 2) how best to allocate RSIC vehicles among these territories, and 3) how best to route RSIC vehicles within the various divisions. Agencies also want to assess facility locations to identify opportunities for greater efficiency.

Objective

The purpose of this project is to identify the best practices at state agencies for route optimization and facility placement, including the use of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software.

Expected Results

This project will provide a synthesis, including a straightforward comparison matrix that illustrates the pros and cons of the RSIC optimization efforts that have been undertaken by winter maintenance organizations to date. Given the potential cost savings associated with optimization of RSIC operations, state DOTs in snow states stand to reap considerable benefits by optimizing their snowplow routing.

The final webinar presentation was given on November 1, 2016.

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