Experiences gained through the development and deployment of the Federal Highway Administrations MDSS Functional Prototype and the subsequent MDSS Pooled Fund Study product suggest that significant benefits are possible, including improved safety, reduced material and equipment use, reduced environmental impact, and more efficient scheduling of maintenance workers. However, these experiences also suggest that significant investments-in hardware, information systems, and training-may be required. The magnitudes of the investments and the resulting benefits-both tangible and intangible-may depend on how completely and extensively a transportation department adopts the essential functions of MDSS. They may also depend on other factors such as agency size, institutional constraints, and geographic conditions.
Transportation departments deployment decisions will depend on the costs and benefits associated with the adoption of MDSS. The magnitude of required investments and expected tangible and intangible benefits will help determine whether a transportation department should commit to MDSS and, if so, at what rate it might budget and schedule deployment. Research is needed to characterize and quantify the benefits of MDSS deployment based upon a comparison between current winter maintenance practices and practices attainable through use of MDSS.