Optimization of winter road maintenance energy costs in Sweden: a critique of site specific frost warning techniques

Authors

  • Mats Riehm,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
      M. Riehm, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, BOX 460, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. E-mail: riehm@kth.se
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  • Lina Nordin

    1. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, BOX 460, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
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M. Riehm, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, BOX 460, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. E-mail: riehm@kth.se

Abstract

Frost formation on roads may cause slippery conditions and thereby increase the risk of accident occurrence. Roads are often treated with preventive operations using de-icing agents (e.g. road salt), which are ideally planned and performed prior to frost formation. The decisions on when and where to treat different road stretches with salt are based on meteorological measurements and forecasts. This paper investigates how uncertainties in meteorological measurements for frost prediction at road weather stations affect the efficiency of winter road maintenance. Different types of uncertainties and errors are discussed, together with potential solutions. The effects on winter road maintenance efficiency are discussed in terms of energy and cost. It was found that improvements in frost warning accuracy and reliability can lead to considerable savings and more efficient winter road maintenance. Copyright © 2011 Royal Meteorological Society

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