‘I really shouldn’t need [crampons] to get around in a city’s downtown area. I mean, shouldn’t we have heated sidewalks and roads by now? We don’t need an expensive solar-tile road to do it, although that would be cool. Iceland’s got a nifty geothermal snowmelt system that uses hot water to melt snow and ice on Reykjavik streets. The city of Holland, Michigan has a snowmelt system too. Sure, it would require digging up streets and putting in tubing to circulate hot water—but places with snowmelt systems still generally save a ton of money every year….’
The costs include not only the snow removal budget but the environmental impact of the plowing (fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emission from diesel plows, etc.), the cost of pavement damage from plowing, the environmental impact of road salt, and the costs of social harm from associated traffic accidents and pedestrian injuries.