Fu, L., Thakali, L., Linkton, M., Kwon, T. J., Usman, T. (2015) Cost-benefit analysis of winter road maintenance standards – a case study. Proceedings of the 2015 CSCE Annual Conference, May 27-30, 2015. Regina, SK.
This paper describes the result of a study aiming at illustrating how models of winter road maintenance (WRM) performance measures can be applied to investigate the implications of different winter road maintenance level of service (LOS) standards under specific winter weather conditions. The study introduces a cost-benefit framework integrating the two primary cost and benefit components associated with winter road maintenance services, namely, material costs, safety and mobility benefits. Various maintenance input, output and outcome models are developed using five seasons of event-based data. The expected cost of maintaining a highway route is captured by a salt application model, which relates the amount of salt used over a snow event to various event characteristics as well as the LOS class of the highway. The benefit from WRM for a highway route is quantified on the basis of the expected safety improvements, i.e., reduction in the number of collisions, and, the expected mobility improvements, i.e., increase in trip making utility and reduction in travel time. A case study is conducted to determine the optimal traffic threshold for demarcating the Class 1 and 2 highways in Ontario. The study has demonstrated the feasibility of applying the proposed quantitative approach when assessing alternative service standards under different climate conditions.