Winter maintenance personnel indicated that road weather information systems reduced travel times, and anti-icing techniques decreased the need for road closures.
Made Public Date

United States

United States

Benefit/Cost Study of RWIS and Anti-icing Technologies: Final Report

Summary Information

A research project to document the benefits of anti-icing techniques and road weather information system (RWIS) technologies was initiated under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). Benefits reported in the literature were supplemented with interviews from highway professionals.

Data were collected from:

  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Focus Articles and Technical Briefs.
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB) International Symposium of Snow Removal and Ice Control Technology research reports.
  • Pacific Northwest Snowfighter Conference reports; Iowa State DOT Winter 1999-2000 debriefing reports.
  • Pennsylvania DOT’s anti-icing benchmarking project; vendors and consultants.
  • Highway agencies participating in the Lead States Program created by implementation of the Task Force on Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP).


Performance Measure
RWIS Benefits
Anti-icing Benefits
  • Reduced travel times
  • Improved traveler information
  • Reduced number of road closures
  • Improved traveler information

Also noted were anti-icing disadvantages, which can be avoided with proper use of information from RWIS. Liquid anti-icing chemical usage in windy conditions can cause blowing snow to adhere to pavements. Pretreating roads with liquid chemicals may cause slippery conditions or lead to surface freezing if pavement temperatures fall below specific thresholds. Pretreated areas may necessitate subsequent treatment with solid materials. Level of service (and customer satisfaction) disparities may exist where different agencies or maintenance units are responsible for adjacent road sections. If one unit employs anti-icing techniques and the other does not, motorists may travel from a road section with bare pavement to a snow-covered section.

The report concluded that anti-icing is an effective winter maintenance strategy that can improve level of service, however, anti-icing techniques should be carefully planned and executed based upon reliable, accurate data from a RWIS. Appropriate training of maintenance personnel (from decision makers to plow operators) and effective public information campaigns were also noted as key to the success of an anti-icing program.

Goal Areas
Deployment Locations