Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS)

Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS)

Controlling snow and ice buildup on roadways during winter weather events presents several challenges for winter maintenance personnel. Among these challenges is the need to make effective winter maintenance decisions (treatment types, timing, rates, and locations), as these decisions have a considerable impact on roadway safety and efficiency. Additionally, poor decisions can have adverse economic and environmental consequences. In an effort to mitigate the challenges associated with winter maintenance decisions, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Transportation Operations (HOTO) initiated a program in 2001 aimed at developing a winter road Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS).

The MDSS project goal is to develop a prototype capability that:

  • Capitalizes on existing road and weather data sources
  • Augments data sources where they are weak or where improved accuracy could significantly improve the decision–making task
  • Fuses data to make an open, integrated and understandable presentation of current environmental and road conditions
  • Processes data to generate diagnostic and prognostic maps of road conditions along road corridors, with emphasis on the 1–to 48–hour horizon (historical information from the previous 48 hours will also be available)
  • Provides a display capability on the state of the atmosphere and roadway
  • Provides a decision support tool, which provides recommendations on road maintenance courses of action
  • Provides all of the above on a single platform, with simple and intuitive operating requirements, and does so in a readily comprehensible display of results and recommended courses of action, together with anticipated consequences of action or inaction
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