83rd Annual

Wednesday, 12 February 2003: 2:15 PM
The Winter Road Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) Project Update and Future Plans
William P. Mahoney, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and W. Myers
Poster PDF (236.6 kB)
The ability to obtain accurate, high resolution, weather and road condition forecast information along road segments is difficult and time consuming. This inefficient process can often result in frustration, misinterpretation of environmental conditions, and poor decisions. These deficiencies led the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to support the development of a prototype winter road Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS). The MDSS is designed to provide guidance on winter maintenance decisions (treatment times, types, rates, and locations) specific to winter road maintenance routes.

In fiscal year 2000, the US FHWA Office of Transportation Operations (HOTO) Road Maintenance Management Program began an initiative to gather surface transportation weather decision support requirements from State DOT personnel. In addition, the Office of Federal Coordinator for Meteorology (OFCM) together with the FHWA, co-sponsored symposiums on Weather Information for Surface Transportation (WIST).

Utilizing information obtained from these outreach activities, the FHWA began a project in fiscal year 2001 to develop a conceptual prototype MDSS tailored for winter road maintenance decision makers. The program was extended into 2002 with the objective of developing and demonstrating a functional prototype MDSS and releasing the prototype technology on a non-exclusive basis to the surface transportation community. The MDSS technologies (Release-1) will be made available in September 2002. A field demonstration of the MDSS will occur in FY2003 during the winter months.

The MDSS project goal is to develop a prototype capability that capitalizes on existing road and weather data sources, fuses data to make an open, integrated and understandable presentation of current environmental and road conditions, processes data to generate diagnostic and prognostic maps of road conditions, provides a display capability on the state of the roadway, provides a decision support tool which provides recommendations on road maintenance courses of action, and does so in a readily comprehensible display of results with recommended courses of action, together with anticipated consequences of action or inaction.

The presentation will present an overview of the MDSS program and describe the current status of the technology release and future implementation plans.

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