Within the context of winter maintenance optimisation, it is necessary to test the possibilities of intense implementation of modern technologies. Several possibilities exist, like global positioning systems, online connection between the head of operation and the vehicle, exchange of weather data between the on site location and the headquarters, control of the vehicles from the headquarters and finally improvement of the weather forecast. The research need is to analyse and test the implementation of different communication systems.
The crucial objective of the project is to supply the basic criteria for the implementation of modern communication technologies for winter maintenance to increase traffic safety and traffic flow regarding highway operation. Therefore, the conditions and requirements for implementing such technologies need to be defined and the potential of improvements to be sought out. The economic efficiency of such technologies should be included in the total evaluation of the project.
The following methods are provided:
• Literature researches and evaluation of the present articles
• Expert discussions and interviews
• Data analysis and analysis for assessing individual properties under application components
• Cost analysis and value determination to express final recommendations to use
The research study has shown with the help of seven defined safety criteria that road safety improves significantly with the help of a professional WMMS. Crucial are the promptness of winter maintenance decisions and actions, the anticipatory strategy, the prevention of local and temporally limited slippery (icy) conditions on the road and the control of all weather conditions on the road with the large knowledge of the manager on duty based on persistent quality controls with the help of the collected data of winter maintenance actions. A rough survey of accident data of recent years shows that the statistical accident rate under wintry conditions decreases significantly if a WMMS is in use.
The faster and more efficient winter maintenance actions will be executed, the higher the traffic flow is on the supervised road network. By the use of a WMMS a positive development of traffic safety as well as of traffic flow is to be expected.
A systematically implemented WMMS very efficiently prevents slipperiness while economically spreading the salt due to weather-related precise instructions. In addition, unnecessary winter maintenance actions can be minimised by the use of an efficient WMMS. All in all a WMMS allows an environment-friendly, ecological optimisation of winter maintenance in combination with high road safety standards.
Analysing various economic criteria leads to the conclusion that a professionally implemented WMMS results in an economical optimisation of winter maintenance. Among others this is due to the reduction of personnel costs (call-outs and control tours), the downsising of scale/complexity and duration of winter maintenance actions, the reduction of unnecessary actions and the reduction of the spreading rate by precise procedures. So WMMS improves the cost-controlling tools while keeping up high road safety standards.
With the time-saving decrease of accidents for all road users, the implementation of a WMMS is economically beneficial for winter maintenance. By a WMMS the quality of life for the manager on duty will improve significantly, because stress situations can be reduced effectively.
As a whole a WMMS is an efficient instrument in order to optimise winter maintenance with regard to traffic flow, cost effectiveness, road safety and environment. As a management tool, however, it must repeatedly be submitted to quality controls, in order to remain efficient.