Episode 11: Which way should the snowplow go? Route Optimization

By June 6, 2018March 2nd, 2020Podcasts

Having an efficient and effective winter maintenance program is built largely on having the right resources at the right place at the right time. This begs to question, Which way should the snowplow go? Route optimization made the top-10 list of things for a world class winter maintenance program and is front and center on the minds of state members of the SICOP winter maintenance technical service program. Several state DOTs are utilizing route optimization programs and many more are considering starting a route optimization program.

Kyle Lester(CO DOT), Jim Hughes (WI DOT), and Larry Gangle (ND DOT) sit down with SICOP and Talk Winter Ops and talk about their experiences with route optimization in their states.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Bob Lannert says:

    Very interesting discussion from 3 different perspectives/states. Wisconsin is a very interesting state where each county performs the work as a contractor to the state and has a real advantage when performing work on ALL routes at different service levels…. when compared to Turn Pike authorities which have 1 or 2 levels of service and they are done, sitting. Where Wisc blends all LOS routes and can readily move resources across the system to better utilize for longer periods; providing much better usage and likely much better trade cycles which improved equipment dependability….. but working with 72 counties/districts is extremely hard to implement best practices, quickly.

  • Kevin Munro says:

    These are reasonable expectations and inputs of any optimization: Balance routes ignoring traditional boundaries like county-district-township in favor of keeping that vehicle(s) moving in a productive manner, matching fleet characteristics with route requirements, developing cycle times scientifically (salt initiate,burn time and salinity duration) and perhaps using AADT, school, hospital, retail zones, identifying problem areas and how each problem type affects material demand or vehicle speed. U, Left, Right turn policies, using good AVL data over time to drive Service and Deadhead speeds.
    When you can show scientifically that you are doing the most with Department revenue it can becomes easier to justify and prove cost/benefit if reviewing level of service etc.
    Spatial Matters Inc. of Cincinnati Ohio has developed a process for developing Winter route optimization using commercial off the shelf mainstream GIS software. Most or all State DOTs and Provincial Highways departments already own this software. We have completed an initial and revised optimization for the Utah Department of Transportation and their GIS team is tweaking a few routes for implementing this coming winter.