PennDOT to add technology to snowplows

This winter season, more than 700 plow trucks covering interstates and expressways statewide will be outfitted with technology to improve location and operations information through a PennDOT pilot program, Gov. Tom Wolf announced in a press release on Thursday, Oct. 22.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards (left) joins Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to view technology that aims to make snow removal more efficient.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards (left) joins Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to view technology that aims to make snow removal more efficient.

“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 in the release. “A government that works is also a transparent one, and this pilot is a perfect example of maximizing efficiency and modernizing operations.”

The governor joined PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards at the department’s District 8 headquarters in Harrisburg to explain how the Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system will help improve the department’s real-time information on vehicle movement, plow-route coverage and usage of materials such as salt and anti-skid.

“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 in the release. “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 Wolf’s GO-TIME initiative that leverages inter-agency coordination and collaboration to maximize efficiency, modernize state government operations, and provide the highest quality services. The pilot, as one of seven GO-TIME projects identified by PennDOT in 2016-2017, is expected to realize a cost savings of $1.4 million over the next four to six years based on a combination of reduced salt usage and better use of department equipment, Richards said.

In total, 516 PennDOT plow trucks and 212 contracted rental trucks servicing interstates and expressways across the state will have AVL installed. Statewide, PennDOT has 2,200 total department-force trucks and also rents approximately 270 trucks and their operators to maintain the more than 40,000 miles of roadway for which PennDOT is responsible.

PennDOT plans to make the system’s real-time location data available to the public later this year through its traveler information website, www.511PA.com.

 

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