About the research
Winter road maintenance operations involve complex operational strategies and long-term planning decisions. The objective of this project was to develop an optimization-based approach to sustainable replacement, improvement, and relocation of maintenance garages. In particular, an arc routing problem was formulated to design efficient routes for salting, pre-wetting, and plowing, considering the operational characteristics of winter road maintenance.
The researchers conducted two case studies—for the Muscatine and Dubuque areas in Iowa. In both case studies, heuristic solution algorithms were developed to find the optimal snow routes that satisfy maintenance service level requirements.
Alternative garage locations were compared in terms of number of snow routes, deadhead times, and distances. New garage locations were recommended to replace the existing Muscatine and Dubuque garages.