The Winter Model: A new way to calculate socio-economic costs depending on winter maintenance strategy

Publisher's full text

The project “Winter Model” started at the beginning of the 2000s. The idea was to try and predict the consequences of different winter maintenance strategies and to calculate the associated socio-economic costs. It is now possible to calculate and validate the impact that different winter maintenance measures have on road users, road authorities and local communities.

This paper contains results of the first complete Winter Model calculations using existing conditions. Comparisons with different road classification standards have been carried out in order to determine the effect they have on socio-economic costs. Road classification standards dictate how much snow should fall before a maintenance action is initiated and how long it should take until the action is completed. Socio-economic costs increased for all comparisons when reductions in the classification standard were applied. As an example of how costs can vary: the scenario is a salted road using a combined plough and salt spreader where the allowed time to complete the action is 4 h that is changed to an unsalted road with an allowed time to complete the action of 5 h. Both scenarios have an action start criteria of 2 cm deep snow, and an annual average daily traffic flow of 2000.

Comparison results show that the change from salted to unsalted road saves the most cost due to a reduction in salt use and required actions. However, the increased time to complete the action will result in slightly longer travel times and accident costs will increase by 24.2%. The extended action hour affect fuel consumption in a positive way, for example, consumption decreases slightly due to driving more often at lower speeds on unclear roads. By lowering the road classification standard like in this example, total socio-economic costs increased by 3.5%.

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