Statewide implementation of Maintenance Decision Support System estimated at $1.5 million.

Estimated cost of Colorado MDSS from 2009 benefit cost study

May 12, 2009
Statewide; Colorado; 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
307 sheds; 2 computers/shed; 15 min of MDSS installation time
Communication costs (for MDC)
$40/month; 5 months/winter season
In-vehicle computer hardware investment (capital and maintenance of MDC)
1393 trucks; 1 MDC on each truck; $2,000/MDC; used for 5 years; maintenance cost is 10% of the capital cost per year
Five operators trained in each shed for 4 hours; training costs for trainer and maintenance personnel
Additional weather forecast provider costs
Administrative costs
10% of direct costs

  • Software and Operations Costs - It is assumed that MDSS is deployed on all 307 maintenance 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. In total 1,393 MDCs were installed in trucks.
  • 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; 5 operators were trained per shed, with a total of 1,535 people trained. 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 - Ten percent of the total costs ($1.4 million) was used for agency administration (including support from agency IT staff, e.g. route configuration, call-in technical support). The reason that 10 percent was used instead of the more common 25 percent, is because the majority (80 percent) of the direct costs were from computer hardware investment and associated communication costs.


    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).

System Cost Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this System Cost

To comment on this summary, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


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 costs per winter season were $1,497,985 (in 2008 dollar values), assuming statewide deployment.


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this System Cost

(click stars to rate)


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

Cost ID: 2011-00211