In Austria snow plowing operations are usually performed in areas when there is frozen precipitation or significant snowfall. The snowplows remove ice and snow from the roads using either mechanical means or salt to melt the ice. Snow removal on roadways is important for public and industry to guarantee safe and on-time transportation. Therefore, the winter service is a critical service for the success of a society with harsh winter conditions. To manage the plowing operations, each of the nine Austria’s federal states have a department of road construction and maintenance, which is responsible for the road conditions during the winter season in their federal state area. Each department further separates their geographical region into non-overlapping subareas, called districts, each including one or multiple salt depots at which the salt is stored in silos and a number of vehicles are based. Fixed routes for the maintenance service are assigned to the vehicles.
Research directions lead to the following research questions, which are addressed using a simulation model with geographic information system (GIS) integration
- What is the impact of the number of silos on the salt availability of the depots?
- What is the trade-off between the infrastructure costs for different silo size specifications and the salt availability at the depots?
To answer the research questions, we built a simulation model with AnyLogic by the use of the Geographic Information System (GIS) feature of the software. The simulation model is developed to be generic, which means that the simulation modules, i.e. the suppliers and the salt depots are built based on the data stored in the integrated database. This enables to scale or adapt the model easily to different scenarios or situations. The simulation model imports the data from the database in an initial phase and builds the salt supply chain structure respectively. The analyzed transaction data are used during the simulation model to mimic the stochastic replenishment process, failure behavior and previous demand scenario.