Measuring efficiency of winter maintenance practices

R. Decker, J. L. Bignell, C. M. Lambertsen, K. L. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The need to objectively evaluate the effect of new technology and the advent of externally contracted winter maintenance have increased the need for quantitative measures of winter maintenance efficiency and effectiveness. Varying severity of winter storms and lane kilometers within a maintenance facility's service area together largely account for storm-to-storm differences in the cost of fighting snow. Efforts were made to develop a measure of winter maintenance efficiency that accounts for labor, equipment, and material costs, as well as storm severity and duration, for an established number of lane kilometers of given service levels. The expenditures are normalized by the lane kilometers in the maintenance facility's service area and a storm severity index. The storm severity index (WI) is a modified winter index calculated from weighted daily snowfall totals and minimum and maximum temperatures. The resulting winter maintenance metric (daily snow-fighting $/WI × lane-km) is a normalized measure of a maintenance facility's efficiency in performing snow- and ice-control operations. Databases and resulting winter maintenance efficiency metrics were developed for the winters 1996-1997, 1997-1998, and 1999-2000 for three Utah Department of Transportation maintenance facilities. The efficiency of these three sheds is compared for the winter of 1996-1997, and the winter maintenance efficiency is considered at one shed for specific storms during winter 1998-1999. The winter maintenance efficiency metric allows maintenance managers to objectively consider storm-to-storm efficiency within a facility and to compare the storm-to-storm and annual efficiency of facilities. The impact of new technology on winter maintenance and the efficiency with which contract organizations perform snow-fighting duties can be measured with a winter maintenance metric.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1741
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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