Aiming for Peak Performance -- CDR Group develops application to optimize winter road maintenance
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Aiming for Peak Performance -- CDR Group develops application to optimize winter road maintenance

May 11, 2010 -- CDR Group has developed a new software application for MapInfo Professional® to assist Highway Authorities to optimise the spreading of rock salt for winter maintenance.

The Issue

Budgetary constraints and the need to provide value-for money services are key issues for UK Local Authorities. For Highway Authorities, Winter Maintenance (salting) presents particular challenges due to …

Recognising these issues, in 2009 Derbyshire County Council embarked on a major project to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their Winter Maintenance operations.

The Challenge

Derbyshire County Council is responsible for some 5,500Km of road, of which some 2,500 Km are currently designated as requiring salting. These include some of the most challenging and weather affected roads in England across the Peak District. The Authority currently operates 47 front line vehicles with a team of 140 drivers based at five strategically located depots.

The aim for them, is to ensure that all designated routes are speedily salted, salt is not wasted by salting routes already covered or not designated for salting, whilst ensuring that at least 65% of each salting route should involve salting rather than ‘dead running’. With a cost of around £30,000 every time the Winter Maintenance fleet swings into action, efficiency is paramount.

The Solution

Derbyshire County Council’s approach to this challenge is based on three key features:

CDR’s Contribution

Derbyshire County Council turned to their GIS provider CDR Group to provide the software solution to form the vital link between the route planners and the vehicle operators.

To this end, CDR has worked closely with the County Council, to develop, test and commission MISalt. This is an application developed in MapBasic (MapInfo’s programming language) to run within MapInfo Professional providing the following key functionality:


The severe winter weather at the start of 2010 has thrust the issue of winter maintenance into the public and political spotlight, amply demonstrating Derbyshire County Council’s foresight in taking steps to improve the flexibility and efficiency of their Winter Maintenance operations.

The availability of a GPS system for salting operations that gives the driver route directions and instructions on when to salt or not, will certainly help the County to deliver the winter service accurately and more efficiently. The system will also reduce the time spent in training drivers that are new to routes not travelled by them before.

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