Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Faherty, Keith F.

Second Advisor

Kuemmel, David A.

Third Advisor

Karshenas, Saeed


The broadening awareness of the need of better winter road maintenance is a matter of common knowledge. Each year governments spend significant sums of money to counteract the adverse effects of snow and ice. Such expenditures have appeared necessary in the interest of public safety. During snow and icy conditions, most of the benefits in rapidly returning a snow /ice impaired road to its normal operating condition are well known: reduction in traffic accidents, reduction in vehicle travel delay, restoration of essential mobility and elimination of vehicle travel fuel waste. Prior to 1991, several extensive European studies have been reported on measuring the impact of winter road maintenance and its economic benefits on road users' safety. In the United States, no quantitative documented data on the amounts are available up to this dissertation's date. Perhaps data have not been collected simply because these benefits are so apparent. Proper documentation with good data of the impact of winter road maintenance and its benefits is a must. These, then, are the purposes of this dissertation: To measure and analyze the influence of winter road maintenance during snow and icy conditions and following a bare pavement policy on the traffic safety in four different states (New York, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin); and To evaluate the benefit-cost analysis of such winter road maintenance operations and show any road users' savings. Accordingly, a significant effort was put together with the authorities in the four different states to collect the data needed for this study. A highway network of approximately 1250 lane-miles total length was selected randomly with the cooperation of the authorities in the participating states. Data on road characteristics, traffic volumes, snow and ice control operations, and traffic accidents occurring on each highway section in the four states have been assembled from two winter seasons in New York, and one winter season (1990-91) in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Detailed traffic analysis and adjustments were performed to arrive at estimates of hourly vehicle miles of travel "12 hours" before and "12 hours" after each snow and ice control operation for each section. Traffic accident data were similarly analyzed hour by hour and results reported by hourly accident rates. This dissertation will also review comprehensively significant literature practices and experience related to its purposes.



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