Alex Goldmark is the senior producer of Note to Self, a storytelling show about how technology is changing society. Subscribe here to get Note to Self shows delivered right to your devices. Follow him on Twitter @alexgoldmark.
New Jersey Adds GPS to Snowplows
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 07:53 PM
Last year was a brutal winter in the Northeast. The record snowfalls left New York's Mayor smarting from criticism that the city was unprepared. After an early and costly snowfall already this winter city and state agencies around the region are getting ready for a smoother go around this time. One move in particular, is that New Jersey announced Wednesday that it plans to add GPS devices 0nto 700 snow clearing vehicles to better manage the fleet when the white stuff comes.
"Last year the storms were just relentless," Joe Dee of the New Jersey state Department of Transportation tells Transportation Nation. "It was just constantly sending out the trucks, sending out the private contractors."
Last year NJ spent $48 million on removing snow. $10 million is budgeted for this year. To make that process more efficient, eventually the N.J. DOT will tag 3,300 agency vehicles and mobile equipment units for year round fleet management.
The DOT says real time information about roadway conditions and progress crews are making will make their work more efficient.
“We are excited about this new technology and anticipate that it will improve the teamwork among our crews, supervisors and managers that is so essential to a successful snow-fighting operation,” N.J. DOT Commissioner James Simpson said. “Storms are dynamic events, and GPS adds another layer of communication that will enable us to quickly adapt our plans to conditions that can change rapidly.”
Additional information on road conditions will also come from about 180 sensors at nearly 40 locations around the state. The sensors, installed after last winter provide data including temperature, wind speed, and whether pavement is wet or dry to help storm mangers decide when to take anti-icing or snow clearing measures.