AASHTO Journal, 30 October 2015
A pilot program this winter at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will equip more than 700 snow plow trucks with tracking technology to improve storm-fighting abilities, Gov. Tom Wolf announced.
“This system will allow PennDOT to see operations and conditions on the ground in real-time, helping them to better analyze how they do their jobs and get the best investment out of every dollar,” Wolf said. He called the pilot effort “a perfect example of maximizing efficiency and modernizing operations.”
The governor joined PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards at the department’s District 8 headquarters in Harrisburg to explain how the Automated Vehicle Location system will help improve the agency’s real-time information on vehicle movement, plow-route coverage and use of road salt and anti-skid materials.
“We expect that this technology will not only help us review truck movement and material usage after a storm, but it should also help us while storms are occurring,” Richards said. “Interstates and expressways are our top priority during winter weather, and this system will help us identify and respond to real-time conditions even better than we do today.”
The AVL system pilot is part of Governor Wolf’s “GO-TIME” initiative that leverages inter-agency coordination and collaboration to maximize efficiency and modernize state government operations.
The plow truck pilot is one of seven GO-TIME projects identified by PennDOT in 2016-2017, and is expected to realize a cost savings of $1.4 million over four to six years through reduced salt usage and better equipment use, Richards said.
Statewide, PennDOT has 2,200 department-force plow trucks and rents about 270 trucks more to maintain more than 40,000 miles of roadway.
Under the pilot, 516 PennDOT plow trucks and 212 contracted rental trucks that service interstates and expressways will have AVL installed.
At some point later this year, PennDOT also plans to make the system’s real-time location data available to the public, so drivers can better know which roads are plowed and where they might encounter plow trucks in operation.