Each year public entities, from the smallest municipal governments to the largest departments of transportation, are under intense scrutiny over how they allocate budget to maintain roads throughout the winter season.
But as technology within the winter maintenance space continues to improve, fortunately there are data-driven approaches available today that can help agencies justify their decisions and the way they spend their dollars from winter to winter.
One of the technologies that is becoming a necessity within winter maintenance vehicles is automated vehicle location and mobile data collection, which are more commonly known as AVL/MDC. These strategies give local government the ability to automatically collect, display and analyze data from snow plow trucks during adverse winter weather conditions.
What is AVL/MDC?
AVL and MDC are actually two different data sets that can be interpreted many different ways. For the purposes of this article, AVL will refer to the collection of basic vehicle location, while MDC will cover the data that are collected relating to the weather conditions, road conditions and actions being performed by the winter maintenance vehicle, including application rate, type and plow position.
With public agencies constantly having to provide a rationale for how dollars are spent to maintain roads, winter weather variability presents several challenges. But regardless of these variations, agencies must track their efforts.
To track these variables effectively, agencies must look to deploying technologies to track both weather conditions and road maintenance teams’ reaction to these conditions.
When combined with accurate AVL/ MDC data, Iteris’ ClearPath Weather allows agencies to justify and track their actions. Examples of these capabilities include the ability to track material usage during winter storm events.
Using a web-based maintenance decision support system like ClearPath Weather can provide decision makers with all the information they need to make the optimal decisions during adverse winter weather conditions.
The Bottom Line
AVL/MDC data provides the additional layer of data that can help to improve real-time maintenance recommendations and detailed maintenance tracking for post-storm analysis. This information can prove invaluable when answering the tough management questions that will no doubt arise regarding an agency’s response to winter weather following storms and the winter season.
About the Author:
Ben Hershey is vice president, Weather Services Operations at Iteris.