New methods for improving winter road maintenence

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: Winter road maintenance activities are crucial for maintaining the accessibility and traffic safety of the road network during winters. Common winter road maintenance activities include plowing and the use of de-icing agents (e.g. NaCl) to avoid freezing. Effective winter road maintenance strives towards keeping the roads free from snow and ice while reducing negative side effects of winter road maintenance, such as ground water contamination from road salt. Since the weather is decisive for when there is an increased risk of slipperiness, the understanding and continuous observation and forecasts of the road weather are of highest importance. Sensors are commonly installed along roads to measure road weather conditions to support the road maintenance personnel in taking appropriate actions. Different types of errors and uncertainties related to sensors used for frost warnings along roads have been investigated by using a regional scale dataset from south-western Sweden. The results from this study indicate that various types of uncertainties originate from both measurements and models which have a significant impact on the winter road maintenance efficiency. To provide better information about the road surface conditions, a new method for detecting ice formation on roads is presented. Infrared sensors were used to detect temperature patterns which may occur when ice formation take place on a road surface. The investigations demonstrate the potential to improve winter road maintenance by introducing new methods to better describe the road surface conditions.