Roadway snow and ice control 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 vehicle fleets that are responsible for plowing roadways and spreading deicers. Optimizing statewide fleet operations includes three distinct problems: 1) how best to divide the network into service territories, 2) how best to allocate winter maintenance vehicles among these territories, and 3) how best to route vehicles within the various divisions. Agencies also want to assess facility locations to identify opportunities for greater efficiency.
The purpose of this project was to identify best practices at state agencies for route optimization and facility placement, including the use of commercial off-the-shelf software.
This project created a synthesis report on snowplow route optimization, including a straightforward comparison matrix that illustrates the pros and cons of the route optimization efforts that have been undertaken by winter maintenance agencies to date. Given the potential cost savings associated with optimization of winter maintenance 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.