All 902 plow trucks owned by Iowa Department of Transportation now are on a new GPS system.
Craig Bargfrede heads winter operations for the DOT. He says this new system allows vehicles to gather all sorts of data, which the DOT will now be able to use for clearing Iowa’s roadways of snow and ice more efficiently.
“By having this data available, we’re able to go back and do a review to see, ‘Okay, based on, this is the treatment practice we applied during this type of storm’,” Bargfrede says. “Based on that, how effective was that treatment practice and how fast were we able to bring the system back up to near-normal winter driving conditions?”
The new system cost about $850,000, but Bargfrede says it will pay for itself as the DOT can now be more targeted with how it deploys plow trucks, how it uses road salt and anticipate if a vehicle is having mechanical issues. Bargfrede says he’s excited to analyze the new information the GPS system will provide.
“Track truck locations, direction of travel, speed, what type of material that we’re putting down, how much of that material we’re putting down,” he says. “It also gives us the ability to gather engine data.”
Bargfrede says a previous system used by the DOT was cellular, and therefore data wasn’t as accurate due to dead spots. The Iowa DOT clears more than 24,000 miles of snow and ice during the winter months.
(Thanks to Sarah Boden, Iowa Public Radio)