Web-Based Preventative Blowing and Drifting Snow Control Calculator Decision Tool

Principal Investigator:

Gary Wyatt, Extension Educator, UM Extension

Co-Investigator

Project Summary:

The Minnesota Department of Transportation administers a living snow fence program to increase the safety and mobility on Minnesota highways that have problems with blowing and drifting snow. The program has installed snow fences in less than 3 percent of the nearly 3,800 snow problem areas inventoried along state highways. Recent research conducted by the University of Minnesota has shown that for some sites, the economic benefits both to the agency and the public exceeds the costs. To justify and confirm that operations and maintenance funding diverted to living snow fences is beneficial, an analysis of each snow problem area using a tool developed by the researchers is needed. This online tool would help determine when it makes sense (and cents) to contract with landowners to leave standing corn rows or plant living snow fences. The tool will integrate crash data, snow removal data, mobility benefits to society, farm crop input, and land rental costs. The advantage of a web-based tool is that transportation officials in many regions could benefit from this tool by making cost-effective decisions about living snow fences regarding landowner incentive programs.

Sponsor:

Project Details:

  • Start date: 04/2013
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Snow and Ice Control