At the annual 2016 Snow Summit, Montgomery County officials talked about getting ready for winter, the importance of snow removal, and new initiatives to bring residents more accurate and timely weather-related information.
“Snow takes on a life of its own,” said Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County executive. “And, oftentimes, politicians and governments have been measured by snow and our ability to move it.”
After a large snowstorm, Montgomery County officials asked the public to share what could be learned from that experience, and the importance of removing snow was at the top of that list. In response, County executives are rolling out new initiatives to remove snow from more County sidewalks than ever before.
“We have a plan to remove the snow with some of our contract partners on these 350 miles of sidewalk throughout the County,” said Richard Dorsey, chief, highway services division.
With numerous contract partners, up to 250 highway services employees, and 175 pieces of County equipment designated for snow removal, Montgomery County looked to NeoTreks Plow Ops™ to more efficiently track plow driver status and improve road, weather and critical incident reporting. A digital ecosystem that integrates route assignments and reporting, Plow Ops helps state and local agencies like Montgomery County improve safety, increase efficiency and reduce weather-related delays.
Adapting to digital winter operations streamlines the communication process, including accurate and real-time travel information updates. Highlighting the importance of digitizing operations to bring real-time information to the public, County officials are also updating an interactive snow portal residents can access online. Real-time traveler information is critical for ensuring public safety and reducing costly weather-related delays and incidents.
When Chris Larmon started working at the Town of Mead more than two decades ago, plow operations were simple. But that once quiet Colorado town has since quadrupled in size, and the Public Works Department battles to keep up with high service level expectations.
Chris brought in NeoTreks Plow Ops™ to collect data that will help him keep up with demands, enhance safety and justify increasing the winter operations budget to the town’s Board of Directors. With NeoTreks Plow Ops, Chris will be able to effectively communicate how much plowing work is being done around town, including:
Estimated fuel consumption
Along with tracking data, NeoTreks Plow Ops allows Chris and his team to keep a record of all communications to and from plow drivers in the field. These event logs will help track any incidents on the road so they can be addressed quickly and efficiently.
“With Plow Ops, we can get items out of memory and into tracking,” said Chris Larmon, Operations Manager at the Town of Mead Public Works Department. “With the right tools, we can do our part to keep the town safe.”
By leveraging the power of NeoTreks Plow Ops, Chris can compile a holistic report at the end of the winter season. By presenting the right information to the town’s Board of Directors, Chris will be able to successfully communicate why he needs increased budget and manpower to keep the town running smoothly.
According to Michael E. Bullock, President & CEO at NeoTreks, the pilot project with the Town of Mead, “demonstrates that NeoTreks Plow Ops is an affordable, scalable solution that can provide value to organizations of all sizes.”
You may feel like you’re getting by with traditional communications at your agency during inclement weather. However, the current cloud-dependent and digital platforms offer more efficient ways to track plow driver status and improve road, weather and critical incident reporting. Keep reading to see if you can benefit from digitizing your winter operations.
1. You’re still using CB radios.
If you are still using the traditional CB radio to communicate with plows on the field, you’re bound to have challenges with human error, communications latency (research shows plow drivers can wait up to 15 minutes to report an issue), and reduced accuracy of the information being reported. Adapting to digital winter operations streamlines the communication process including accurate and real-time travel information updates from plow drivers on the field to Operations Centers and even to the public.
2. You’d like to improve communications with plow drivers.
Dynamic road conditions reporting, weather reporting, critical incident reporting, etc. are difficult to track and relay on a real-time basis. Electronic event logs help get information out of memory and into tracking. Not to mention it helps keep track of the occasional rooster tail damage.
3. You need a better understanding of plow driver status. Accountability in the workplace is something every manager wants to have. While accountability has a clear link to higher work performance, experts indicate that it also results in improved competency and commitment to work, increased employee morale, and work satisfaction. Accountability enhances creativity and innovation making the employee is more invested in the future of the organization. Going digital can keep your plow drivers accountable for hours of service, percentage of route completed, and real-time location.
4. Lack of real-time traveler information.
Updating traveler information in real time is critical for ensuring public safety and reducing costly weather-related delays and incidents. Accurate road condition reporting results in fewer vehicles crashes, injuries and fatalities.