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Fhwa's Maintenance Decision Support System Project - Results and Recommendations


The Federal Highway Administration's Office of Transportation Operations Road Weather Management Program began a project in FY 1999 to develop a prototype winter road maintenance decision support system (MDSS). The MDSS capabilities are based on feedback received by the FHWA in 2001 from maintenance managers at a number of state departments of transportation (DOTs) as part of an initiative to capture surface transportation weather decision support requirements. The MDSS project goal is to seed the implementation of advanced decision support services provided by the private sector for state DOTs. This has been achieved by developing core software capabilities that serve as a basis for these tailored products. After the 2001 user needs assessment was completed, the MDSS program was extended with the objective of developing and demonstrating a functional prototype MDSS. Field demonstrations of the prototype MDSS were conducted in Iowa between February and April 2003, and during the winter of 2004. The performance of the prototype MDSS was much improved during the second winter. The weather and road condition predictions were more accurate, and the treatment recommendations generated by the system were reasonable given the predicted conditions. Iowa garage supervisors actively considered the treatment guidance, and on occasion they successfully used the recommended treatments without modification. This paper describes the status of the MDSS project, results and lessons learned from the field demonstrations, and future development efforts.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Fiscal Year
Publication Name
Transportation Research Record: Journal of The Transportation Research Board
Published On
January 01, 2005
Publisher Name
Transportation Research Board Of The National Academies
Print Volume
Print Number
Transportation Research Record


Not available


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.

  • Paul J. Schultz - Not Positioned Gsl
    Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
    NOAA/Global Systems Laboratory