A case study of the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) in Maine.
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A case study of the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) in Maine.

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      Evaluation report
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      This report presents the results of a case study evaluation of a Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) project under a program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Road Weather Management Program (RWMP) has sponsored development of a prototype Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS). The federal MDSS prototype software modules are available to private vendors who have utilized them to develop decision support applications tailored to the needs of state Departments of Transportation (DOTs). An MDSS is being offered to the Scarborough crew of the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), by Meteorlogix/DTN. The DTN system, known as WeatherSentry, includes MDSS capabilities. Experience to date suggests that significant benefits are possible from the use of an MDSS, including improved productivity (e.g., reduced material costs, more efficient use of labor), enhanced mobility, and improved safety. The MDSS offers guidance for maintenance managers and engineers that provides forecasts of weather and pavement conditions and recommendations on efficient maintenance treatment strategies. The MDSS is a unique tool that provides an integrated GIS platform along with significant educational value to users. This research is being conducted to evaluate the concept of an MDSS by assessing the uses and benefits of MDSS deployment on a segment of interstate in the vicinity of Portland, ME, based upon a comparison of historical winter maintenance practices and those practices facilitated through the use of the MDSS tools. The objectives of this research are to assess institutional issues and potential benefits of using an MDSS, and to identify from MaineDOT’s experience lessons of value to other DOTs across the country. The evaluation team worked with MaineDOT to identify these benefits and lessons from their use of the MDSS in support of winter maintenance operations during the winter of 2006-2007. This assessment examined the institutional challenges faced by MaineDOT’s Scarborough crew and the strategies they employed as they used a variety of tools, including the MDSS, to fight each of the winter storm events they faced. Using a detailed event reconstruction approach, data were collected for 12 winter storm events that required a maintenance response in order to characterize the uses of the MDSS as a maintenance tool, versus not using an MDSS (i.e., how maintenance operations would have been conducted prior to having access to an MDSS). Lessons learned are derived from the reconstruction of these storm events that may be of use to other state DOTs considering implementing the MDSS technology.
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