Tools from Clear Roads

Developing practical, user-friendly tools that help practitioners improve their winter operations is an important aspect of Clear Roads’ research program. Designed to empower managers to make data-driven decisions across their operations, these tools can help agencies:

  • Improve performance.
  • Save money and materials.
  • Improve efficiency.
  • Limit environmental impact.

Clear Roads tools are available for free download by any interested agency.

Resource Management Tools

State Winter Maintenance Data (annual survey): Interactive map (spreadsheet). This annual effort compiles and analyzes winter operations data from state DOTs, including tons of salt applied and total winter costs.

Use this tool to: Identify trends in key areas, compare data by year or by state, and facilitate peer-to-peer discussions regarding approaches, tools and costs.

About this project: Annual Survey of State Winter Maintenance Data (CR15-S1)

Tow Plow and Wing Plow Efficiency: Decision Support Tool (spreadsheet) and User’s Guide | Best Practices Guide

Use these tools to: Quantify the efficiencies, costs of ownership, and return on investment for Tow Plows and wing plows and identify the best locations to deploy them. Understand the considerations for purchasing, deploying, and operating specific plow types.

About this project: Measuring the Efficiencies of Tow Plows and Wing Plows (CR19-03)

Using GIS to Highlight Highway Segments Sensitive to Deicing Materials: Geospatial (GIS) Tool | Installation Guide | Quick Start Guide | User’s Guide

Use these tools to: Improve operational planning by identifying the roadway segments where vulnerable environmental resources may be impacted by snow and ice control activities. Incorporate data on roadways, topography, hydrology, and ecology to model the impact of deicing chemicals on the local environment.

About this project: Using GIS to Highlight Highway Segments Sensitive to Deicing Materials (CR20-05)

Calculating Plow Cycle Times from AVL Data: Framework for Visualization Tool

Use this tool to: Track snowplows in real-time and make operational adjustments as needed to maximize efficiency. Have greater insight for post-storm analyses, performance evaluations, route optimization strategies, and resource allocation efforts while leveraging data that’s already likely collected during the course of routine winter maintenance activities.

About this project: Calculating Plow Cycle Times from AVL Data (CR21-06)

Weather Tools

Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI): Web-based tool. This easy-to-use tool was developed using nonproprietary data available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Use this tool to: Conduct analyses to relate storm severity to other factors, such as winter maintenance costs.

About this project: AWSSI Enhancements, Phase 2 (CR20-07)

Choosing a Severity Index: Flowchart tool | Final report (includes step-by-step selection guide)

Use this tool to: Help identify or develop severity index methods that fit your needs and available data sources. Implementing a severity index lets agencies more effectively compare winter operations across jurisdictions and compare individual storms across years, which in turn allows them to more accurately evaluate the impacts of innovations and new winter maintenance methods.

About this project: Evaluation of SSI and WSI Variables (CR18-03)

Costs and Finance Tools

Impact of New Capital Projects: Decision support tool (spreadsheet) | Final report

Use this tool to: Help calculate the financial impact of capital improvements on snow and ice control operations. Final report includes recommendations for how winter maintenance personnel can work within the project development process to include winter operations in the considerations for geometric design of roadways.

About this project: Quantifying the Impact That New Capital Projects Will Have on Roadway Snow and Ice Control Operations (CR14-02)

Coming Soon

  • Grip Sensor Technology and Salt Applications (Coming in 2024): This project will provide winter maintenance teams with an algorithm or decision matrix that incorporates pavement friction and other data to produce real-time recommendations for the appropriate type and application rate of deicing materials.
  • Quantifying the Economic Value of Snow and Ice Operations Success (Coming in 2024): This project will develop a tool for quantifying the benefits of snow-and-ice operations and the costs associated with those benefits to illustrate the substantial economic and ecological gains of investing in snow-fighting equipment, road treatment programs and technologies such as road weather information systems.
  • Updating the Impact of Capital Projects Decision Support Tool (Coming in 2025): this project will provide a much-needed update / supplement to the data that forms the basis for the estimates of impacts that capital projects have on winter maintenance operations.