University of Vermont Transportation Research Center

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Season-to-season variability in winter weather and the absence of quantifiable methods for measuring either winter severity or snow and ice control (SIC) performance have made planning and budgeting for SIC activities challenging. Recent research initiatives undertaken by VTrans and other snowbelt DOTs have established objective measures for weather severity and SIC effectiveness, creating the opportunity to quantify the relationships among winter severity, SIC costs, and SIC performance. For this project, the research team utilized these recently established severity measures and VTrans SIC cost data from the MATS database to develop a cost estimation tool that projects expected SIC costs for user-specified winter severity levels. This tool will support VTrans in making data-driven decisions about appropriate levels of investment in SIC for a given winter forecast and potentially improve SIC performance management by comparing current cost-effectiveness to that seen in the historical data. The algorithm used in the tool was based on the strong correlations between SIC costs and AWSSI at the Snow Region level. The tool can be used to estimate SIC cost statewide, regionally, by maintenance district, or by individual VTrans garage. To generate the cost estimates, the tool simulates 10,000 winter seasons matching the user's specification and calculates SIC costs for each simulation.