Amid a series of sweeping winter storms blanketing North America and Europe, and bringing transport systems and everyday logistics for millions to a halt, a new association is being formed in Moscow, Russia, where average winters last up to six months.
The Moscow-based Russian Association of Winter Road Maintenance is tasked to bring under one roof all sides concerned with snow and ice-related problems: top meteorological scientists and researchers, ecology experts, together with manufacturers of anti-icing materials and snow removal equipment, and specialists in highway and street management.
The main aim of the Association is to research and develop the best practices in efficient and environmentally friendly ways to combat snow and ice accumulation, as well international collaboration aimed to find the best, environmentally and economically sound decisions in the matter of winter road maintenance and early warning systems for urban and rural settings.
According to Association members, there are unexpected challenges, such as shortcomings in legal and knowledge frameworks, be it quality control mechanisms in street and roadway cleaning, or lack of government standards in manufacturing of deicing materials. One noted exception is the city of Moscow, where government developed and passed a set of stringent rules in winter city maintenance, approved by the countrywide ecology commission.
These issues reverberated at the recent International Winter Road Congress, which took place in Andorra, where presentations highlighted the gravity of the snow and ice removal issues for several European countries.
The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) recently measured the temperature of the capital's inhabitants' opinions on the matter. Around 70 percent of respondents noted that Moscow streets are being cleaned better than in other Russian cities, and roughly 6 out of ten Muscovites give the city a passing grade for snow and ice removal effort.