The winter model: Socio-economic cost calculations for the future

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. Accident costs consistently accounted for the largest cost increases in all of the comparisons. Current climate change impact scenarios for northern Europe predict an increase in temperature and precipitation, especially during the winter seasons. Some attempts have been made to use the Winter Model for comparisons between different winters, for example variations in weather patterns. These attempts tried to calculate winter maintenance and socio-economic costs for future winter seasons.

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