National Academies Press: OpenBook

Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations (2009)

Chapter: Research Results Digest 335 - Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations

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Suggested Citation:"Research Results Digest 335 - Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23051.
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Suggested Citation:"Research Results Digest 335 - Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23051.
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Suggested Citation:"Research Results Digest 335 - Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23051.
×
Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Research Results Digest 335 - Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23051.
×
Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Research Results Digest 335 - Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23051.
×
Page 5
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Suggested Citation:"Research Results Digest 335 - Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23051.
×
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Research Results Digest 335 Subject Areas: IIIC Maintenance Responsible Senior Program Officer: Amir N. Hanna March 2009 PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR SNOW AND ICE CONTROL OPERATIONS This digest summarizes the findings from NCHRP Project 6-17, “Performance Measures of Snow and Ice Control Operations.” It was prepared by Amir N. Hanna, NCHRP Senior Program Officer, from the contractor’s final report authored by T. H. Maze, Chris Albrecht, Dennis Kroeger, and Jon Wiegand of the Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University. T. H. Maze served as principal investigator. INTRODUCTION This digest summarizes the findings of the research conducted under NCHRP Proj- ect 6-17 to identify methods and measures for assessing agency and contractor perfor- mance in snow and ice control operations. Monitoring the performance in snow and ice control operations has become an increasingly important task for highway agencies and contractors because of the lim- ited resources available to highway agen- cies and the increased outsourcing of these activities. Different performance measures have been used both in the United States and abroad with varying degrees of success; widely accepted measures applicable to different roadway classifications and storm characteristics have not evolved. Such mea- sures are needed to help highway agencies and contractors monitor the level of per- formance and make adjustments to improve performance or reduce cost, thereby effec- tively managing resources for snow and ice control operations. NCHRP Project 6-17 was conducted to identify, using readily available informa- tion, the measures used to evaluate the per- formance of winter maintenance activities (snow and ice removal from roadways) and to recommend the most promising measures for further development. PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT Transportation agencies often attempt to tie strategic direction and agency mission to performance measures making perfor- mance measurement a critical issue. How- ever, performance measurement has not been sufficiently considered by transporta- tion agencies because of two factors: 1. Transportation agencies have histor- ically focused on standards and spec- ifications for physical conditions or level of service (LOS) that were defined based on static standards (although recently, through asset management application, agencies began to treat LOS and conditions as variables against which other finan- cial and condition considerations can be balanced). 2. The recent expansion of information technology and the ease of collect- ing information made the collection of performance-related data possi- ble and increased the demand for collecting and reporting performance NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM

information both to the public and policy makers. Winter maintenance of roadways is a core and critical business element of many state transporta- tion agencies; measuring performance is essential for managing this critical business element. Measurement of Winter Maintenance Performance Standard methods for measuring winter main- tenance performance for either agency programs or those performed by contractors are not readily avail- able. The lack of such standards makes it difficult or impossible to benchmark and make comparisons between and within maintenance programs to identify rational management trade-offs between agency costs and user costs. Performance measurement will help winter maintenance managers control and direct activities to achieve best use of available resources and reduce user costs. Currently, agencies measure winter maintenance performance in terms of one or more of three factors: inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Inputs Input measures represent the resources spent or utilized to perform snow and ice control operations. These resources include fuel, labor, equipment use, and materials (anti-icing materials and abrasives). The level of input is directly proportional to agency costs; they are most easily and commonly measured by transportation agencies. However, because inputs are applied at the beginning of the winter maintenance process, they do not provide a measure of efficiency, quality, or effectiveness of the winter maintenance operations. Outputs Outputs quantify the physical accomplishment resulting from the work performed using the resources in winter maintenance. Outputs may be expressed in terms of the lane-miles plowed or sanded, the lane- miles to which deicing materials or anti-icing chemi- cals were applied, or the level of accomplishments of other winter maintenance operations. In contrast to the inputs, outputs help define the efficiency of win- ter maintenance operations and the level of input required to achieve a specific level of output. Outcomes Outcomes generally assess the effectiveness of winter maintenance activity, often from the user or customer perspective. Desired outcomes may include improvements in safety, mobility, and/or user sat- isfaction. However, these outcomes can only be es- timated through measurement of related indicators such as pavement friction or number of crashes. Other measures of outcomes include bare pavement regain time, duration and frequency of closure, advanced warning time to customers, and customer satisfaction as expressed in surveys. Although the methods used for estimating outcomes are often complex, they gen- erally produce results that can be simply interpreted. Methods for Measuring Winter Maintenance Performance Friction has become an acceptable performance measure for snow and ice control operations in Finland and Sweden, and in Japan it was found to correlate to crashes and traffic speed and volume. Different types of friction-measuring devices are available, some of which can be mounted under win- ter maintenance trucks or towed by a supervisor’s vehicle. To understand snow and ice control perfor- mance within a network of roadways, the require- ments for number of friction-reporting devices and frequency of measurement need to be identified. In the United States, the time to bare pavement is frequently used as a measure of performance of winter maintenance operations. For example, the Minnesota Department of Transportation(Mn/DOT) measures the time to bare pavement throughout the state’s trunk highway systems and sets different lev- els of acceptable time to bare pavement depending on the level of traffic, such that a shorter time to bare pavement is required on heavily trafficked routes than on lightly trafficked routes. Mn/DOT procedures for measuring winter maintenance performance specify data collection and reporting requirements and include standards for evaluating pavement surface conditions and identifying when it is considered bare. In general, comparisons within and among juris- dictions require use of a common, reliable, repeatable performance measure together with a specific method- ology for collecting and reporting relevant data. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship among inputs, outputs, outcomes, and environmental conditions. It identifies the environmental conditions that influence 2

3winter maintenance operations (e.g., precipitation, temperature, wind speed, solar energy), the inputs (e.g., labor, equipment, and materials), the outputs (i.e., snow and ice removal), and outcomes as mea- sured by customer satisfaction which is related to the time to bare pavement. ASSESSMENT OF PERFORMANCE MEASURES A survey of winter maintenance practices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan revealed that preferred performance measures are generally those related to accounting and management systems. These measures included length of plowed roadway, expended personnel and overtime hours, used mat- erials and equipment, and cost of operations. Other measures included the time required to achieve bare pavement or to return to a reasonably near-normal condition, duration of lane closure, and expressed customer satisfaction. The survey also found that budget and staffing constraints make it difficult for state and local agencies to experiment with new tech- nologies for measuring performance, such as use of friction meters. The survey identified 4 input parameters, 5 output parameters, and 11 outcome measures used by public agencies to measure snow and ice control perfor- mance (see Table 1). The performance measures and approaches used to measure snow and ice control operations were assessed with consideration of rele- vant factors. Among the criteria that can be used for assessing performance measures are the ability to di- rectly measure safety, mobility, or public satisfac- tion; the sensitivity to storm characteristics; and the potential for use in improving snow and ice control operations. The approaches used for measuring the performance measures can be assessed with consid- eration of such factors as the ability to provide quan- tified information, the expenditures associated with use, and the ability to provide similar results for different operators/observers. Using the criteria for evaluating the performance measures and approaches, the 11 outcome measures identified in this research were reduced to 3 basic Remove Snow and Ice - Outputs Environmental Conditions = Storm Severity Solar Precip Change in Temp Wind Speed Temp Icing Abrasives Time to Bare Pavement Operations management Energy Anti- Cycle Length Number and Type of Truck Salt Desired Outcome = Customer Satisfaction RWI Terrain & Geography Inputs = Labor, Equipment, Materials, Management, and Information quality and quantity Figure 1 Relationship between inputs, outputs, and outcomes. Table 1 Snow and ice control performance measures Input measures • Fuel usage • Overtime hours • Personnel hours • Percent of salt spreaders calibrated Output measures • Lane miles plowed • Tons of material used • Amount of equipment deployed • Plow-down miles traveled • Cost per lane mile (efficiency) Outcome measures • Time to bare pavement • Time to wet pavement • Time to return to a reasonably near-normal winter condition • Time for traffic volume to return to “normal” after the storm • Time to provide 1 wheel track • Friction • Level of service • Travel Speed during storm • Customer satisfaction • Crashes per vehicle mile • Traffic volume during storm

4categories, and 2 approaches were identified for each, as follows: • Degree of clear pavement as measured by man- ual observation or camera-assisted observation; • Traffic flow as measured by detectors of speed, volume and occupancy or by road closure; and • Crash risk as measured by friction (slipperi- ness) or reported crashes. CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTED RESEARCH The study provided information on performance measures for snow and ice control operations. Infor- mation obtained in the study indicated that winter maintenance agencies are expected to place more emphasis on performance measurement practices. Also, the public will continue to expect clear roads and less harm to the environment from snow and ice control operations. Use of automated vehicle location (AVL), global positioning systems (GPS), friction meters, road weather information systems (RWIS), and other technologies in snow and ice control oper- ations will facilitate obtaining the data needed to enhance performance measurement practices. In addi- tion to adopting performance measurement practices, agencies could establish targets toward which activi- ties can be directed and, where necessary, identify and implement improvement strategies to achieve more effective winter maintenance programs. Highway agencies are encouraged to conduct field tests for developing a performance measurement pro- gram and examine snow and ice control practices. Such tests should account for the inputs used in snow and ice control operations and the outputs achieved from these operations and assess operational effi- ciency and the extent of meeting expected goals in terms of safety, mobility, public satisfaction, and con- trolling adverse impacts on the environment. The information obtained in this project provides a basis for evaluating performance measures used for snow and ice control operations. However, further research is needed to acquire or estimate the data needed for conducting a more thorough evaluation, particularly the costs associated with weather sever- ity and the application of treatment alternatives. Also, research is needed to establish relationships between performance metrics and safety. FINAL REPORT The contract agency’s final report, titled “Perfor- mance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Opera- tions,” gives a detailed account of the project, find- ings, and conclusions including further information on the current practices regarding the methods and measures used for assessing agency and contractor performance in snow and ice control operations. The report, which was distributed to NCHRP sponsors (i.e., state departments of transportation) is available online as NCHRP Web-Only Document 136 at http:// trb.org/news/blurb/blurb_detail.asp?id=10053. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The work presented herein was performed under NCHRP Project F6-17 and was guided by NCHRP Project Panel F6-17, chaired by Mr. Jerome Horner, with members Messrs. Roemer M. Alfelor, Patrick C. Hughes, David A. Kuemmel, Wayne Lupton, Marvin G. Murphy, and Alfred Uzokwe. Mr. Ray Murphy and Mr. Frank N. Lisle provided liaison with the FHWA and TRB, respectively. Dr. Amir N. Hanna served as the responsible NCHRP staff officer. The final report was prepared by Dr. T. H. Maze, Chris Albrecht, Dennis Kroeger, and Jon Wiegand of the Center for Transportation Research and Education, Iowa State University.

Transportation Research Board 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 These digests are issued in order to increase awareness of research results emanating from projects in the Cooperative Research Programs (CRP). Persons wanting to pursue the project subject matter in greater depth should contact the CRP Staff, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. COPYRIGHT PERMISSION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, or Transit Development Corporation endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP.

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Research Results Digest 335: Performance Measures for Snow and Ice Control Operations explores methods and measures for assessing agency and contractor performance in snow and ice control operations. Additional information on the project, including information on the current practices regarding methods and measures to assess contract performance was published online as NCHRP Web-Only Document 136.

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