Montana Road Weather Information System Software Enhancements Cost Up to $173,800 Annually, Depending on Forecasting Functionalities and System Expansion.

Montana Study Estimated Software and Hardware Costs for Road Weather Information System for a Range of Enhancement and Expansion Scenarios.

Made Public Date
08/30/2021

171

Montana
United States
Identifier
2021-00491
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Summary Information

Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) have been developed by transportation agencies to address operational and safety challenges associated with weather. Researchers conducted a comprehensive review and assessment of Montana DOT’s RWIS program, which includes 73 RWIS stations throughout the state, to assess needs and compare expansion and enhancement scenarios. The goal of the study was to ensure the efficient use of weather data in various transportation applications and the optimum use of agency resources.

Researchers conducted an analysis to investigate outcomes and costs related to using different software functionalities and geographic expansion alternatives for Montana DOT’s RWIS. Cost items investigated include towers and foundations, sensors and hardware, communications, power, software, vendor services (such as forecasts), installation, training, RWIS hardware and communications maintenance, RWIS software operations & maintenance (O&M), and administrative (such as management and protocol development) costs. Cost estimates were used as provided from RWIS vendors wherever possible.  Montana DOT owned and operated software options were assumed to have similar annual software maintenance costs as the current situation with Montana DOT maintaining software. Researchers did not include cost estimates for purchasing of additional servers for agency owned and maintained software, and noted that existing hardware may or may not be adequate for some or all alternatives. Scenarios considered included:

  • Scenario 1 (Observational + Alerting, No Expansion): Using the current RWIS sites with a software system capable of providing customizable alerts for different weather conditions as well as for unresponsive or malfunctioning sensors and sites.
  • Scenario 2 (Observational + Forecasting/maintenance decision support systems (MDSS), No Expansion): Using the current RWIS sites with a software system and service capable of providing detailed atmospheric and pavement forecasts along with some decision support capability to provide treatment recommendations based on the forecasts.
  • Scenario 3 (Observational + Performance Measures, No Expansion): Using the current RWIS sites with a software system and service capable of providing automated performance measures information.
  • Scenario A (Observational, Base Expansion): Using the current observational software with the current RWIS sites and 18 additional “base” RWIS sites which are configured to include the same equipment as the majority of current sites.
  • Scenario B (Observational, Simple Expansion): Using the current observational software with the current RWIS sites and 18 additional “simple” RWIS sites which are configured to include only a camera and pavement temperature sensor.
  • Scenario C (Observational, Non-Invasive Expansion): Using the current observational software with the current RWIS sites and 18 additional RWIS sites that use non-invasive sensors instead of in-pavement sensors.
  • Scenario D (Observational, Mobile Expansion): Using the current RWIS sites and 12 additional mobile RWIS sites including a software system that supports mobile RWIS sensors.

Table 1 summarizes the cost range of software and sensor options for combinations considered by researchers to have the most promise for benefits.

Table 1. Estimated Costs for Selected Expansion and Enhancement Scenarios (year 2016 dollars)

Scenarios

Minimum Software Costs

Maximum Software Costs

Hardware Cost*

1

$10,500 purchase license (vendors)
$10,000 initial migration

$63,000 per year**

 -

2

$417,600 purchase license
$10,100 yearly O&M**
$10,000 initial migration

$136,300 per year**
$10,000 initial migration

 -

3

$66,650 per year**

$79,800 per year**

Non-invasive Sensors, $20,000/each

2+A

$532,000 with a yearly vendor maintenance fee of $23,000 per year

$136,300 per year**
$10,000 initial migration

$35,000 to $45,000 per new base site
$2,600-$4,600 yearly O&M per site

2+B

$532,000 with a yearly vendor maintenance fee of $23,000 per year

$173,800 per year

$8,000 to $12,000 per new simple site $2,600-$4,600 yearly O&M per site

3+A

$95,600 per year

$111,900 per year

$35,000 to $45,000 per new base site
$2,600-$4,600 yearly O&M per site

3+B

$95,600 per year

$111,900 per year

$8,000 to $12,000 per new simple site $2,600-$4,600 yearly O&M per site

3+C

$95,600 per year

$111,900 per year

$50,000 to $60,000 per new non-invasive site
$2,600-$4,600 yearly O&M per site

*Hardware maintenance costs include $2,000 to $4,000 in annual hardware and communications maintenance per site, and $600 in annual power and communications costs per site.

**Cost assumes a fully hosted solution reduces annual software maintenance by $10,000 compared to current situation.

System Cost

Annual Road Weather Information System Software Costs: $63,000 to $173,800