Statewide implementation of Maintenance Decision Support System estimated at $496,952.

Estimated cost of Minnesota implementation of MDSS from 2009 benefit cost analysis

May 12, 2009
Statewide; Minnesota; United States

Summary Information

The costs associated with MDSS use are presented in the table below (in 2008 dollars):


Costs ($/year)


Software and operations costs


2 computers/shed; 15 min of MDSS installation time

Communication costs for Mobile Data Collection (MDC)


$40/month; 5 months/winter season

In-vehicle computer hardware investment (capital and maintenance of MDC)


300 MDCs; $2,000/MDC; used for 5 years; maintenance cost is 10% of the capital cost per year



40 training sessions/year; Trainer labor costs is $560/session; 30 people trained in each shed for 4 hours/session; training costs for trainer and maintenance personnel

Additional weather forecast provider costs


Administrative costs


25% of direct costs



  • Software and Operations Costs - It is assumed that MDSS was deployed on all 150 sheds, two computers were installed with MDSS software in each shed, and the duration for each MDSS installation is 15 minutes.
  • In-vehicle Computer Hardware Investment - It is assumed that the state DOT would use MDC to provide an automated feedback mechanism (maintenance activity information transmitted from MDC to MDSS server) and a means of preserving the chain of communication between MDSS and the vehicle operator. The cost per MDC is about $2,000; it is assumed that each MDC can be used for 5 years, and the maintenance costs per year is 10 percent of the capital cost. Two trucks are assumed to be used in each shed.
  • Communication Costs - The communication cost of MDC is $40 per month, 5 months per winter season.
  • Training Cost - This cost is estimated for duration of 5 years. One training session to the personnel on each route will be conducted every year; each training session lasts for 4 hours for the first 2 years, and 2 hours for the rest; 30 personnel are trained during each traning session. Costs of the trainer and maintenance personnel are included.
  • Additional Weather Forecast Provider Costs - This cost is minimal, since states that do not use MDSS also purchase weather services for winter maintenance.
  • Administrative Costs - Twenty five percent of the total costs discussed above is assumed for agency administration (including support from agency staff, e.g. route configuration, call-in technical support).


    Transportation agencies can calculate MDSS costs by using the cost breakdown in the table above. Important information for calculating MDSS costs includes the number of garages (sheds), the number of MDCs, and administrative cost (in terms of an assumed percentage of direct costs).

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Analysis of Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) Benefits & Costs

Author: Zhirui Ye, Christopher Strong, Xianming Shi*, and Steven Conger

Published By: South Dakota Department of Transportation Office of Research 700 East Broadway Avenue Pierre, SD 57501-2586

Source Date: May 12, 2009

Other Reference Number: SD2006-10-F

System Cost

The total cost per winter season was $496,952 (in 2008 dollar vaues) for statewide deployment of MDSS.


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road weather vehicle tracking, winter maintenance vehicle, RWIS, ESS, Environmental Sensor Station, RWIS Station, road monitoring, weather station, environmental sensing station, MDSS, Maintenance Decision Support System, Mobile Data Collection, MDC

Cost ID: 2011-00210