Keeping Citizens in the Know About Clearing the Snow

Challenges

  • Poor visibility into snow treatment and clearance
  • Cumbersome paper-based tracking and reporting
  • Inconsistent and delayed proof of service provision to the State

BENEFITS

  • Online and real-time visibility into snowplow operations
  • Public portal for real-time viewing by citizens and others
  • Leveraged existing investments in AVL technology in snowplows
  • Saved manpower and time for meeting State’s reporting needs

PRIMEPlow not only provides a better picture of our response to a snow event as it unfolds, but it shows both the citizens and the State of Michigan that their tax dollars are being spent effectively.

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Mike PouterMonroe County Road Commission

BACKGROUND

Monroe County with a population little over 150,000 people is located in southeastern Michigan between Detroit and Toledo. Established in 1817 and named after the then-President James Monroe, its road systems are served by the Monroe County Road Commission (MCRC). In addition, to serving the needs of the county’s roads, MCRC is contracted by the state of Michigan to service the state highways within the county’s boundaries.

PROBLEMS

The MCRC receives funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation for the purchase of its snow removal equipment. It is also responsible for treating and clearing snow on the state roads. In exchange for funding, MCRC had to provide proof to the state of such treatment.

Manpower & Time costs

MCRC used paper-based snow route tracking sheets. Maintaining these paper records and ensuring their accuracy in a consistent manner was difficult particularly in the midst of a resource-consuming snow event. The paper-based systems were cumbersome and made reporting in a timely manner difficult.

Visibility and Responsiveness

Manual paper-based tracking systems also made it difficult to provide citizens, county or state officials visibility into the status of snow clearance activities. This, in turn, caused much disaffection on the part of stakeholders and the MCRC’s hard-pressed employees during severe snow events.

SOLUTION

3SG Plus customized PRIMEPlow, their snowplow management solution to address MCRC requirements. A hosted version of PRIMEPlow that leveraged the MCRC’s existing investment in an automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology was customized for MCRC.

Real-time Tracking

3SG Plus designed an internal site for MCRC staff that helps them measure progress and track resource usage during a snow event. The solution, which builds on the location data streams generated by the existing AVL hardware on snowplows, enables staff to make operational decisions in real-time. The internal site, allows MCRC to generate a variety of reports that not only meet the needs of various stakeholders but enable continuous improvement of snow removal operations by comparing historical metrics.

Public Interface

3SG Plus also developed a public-facing portal for MCRC. The site, available on any web browser shows recent treatment and allows state and county officials to see which state roads have been treated and when the treatment occurred.

BENEFITS

Access to real-time information on MCRC’s snow plows and a map-based view of this was a major benefit. PRIMEPlow allows MCRC to quickly monitor and measure the success of snow removal activities during an active snow event. This leads to better communication and coordination within the organization during a snow event.

Reporting on snow removal activities, during and after snow events was made much easier with PRIMEPlow and it also provided for better transparency with State of Michigan Department of Transportation. The reporting also allowed MCRC’s internal users to compare metrics between events to help them improve snow removal operations over time.

By building on MCRC’s existing automatic vehicle location (AVL) solution, 3SG Plus’ PRIMEPlow snow management solution helped them improve their return-on-investment on their prior technology investments.