The jack-o-lanterns have not yet found their way to the compost pile, but the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is already thinking about getting its snow plows on the road. This year, managers and the public will be better able to keep tabs on those trucks.
The department announced Thursday that crews have outfitted 728 of its plows with an Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system, which tracks the state-owned trucks on an online map.
“To show people who want to drive maybe to help an ailing parent or grandparent what route to take, where the plows had actually operated most recently,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “So they can know what roads have been plowed and what roads they can most safely take.”
Residents can take a peak at PennDOT’s movement on its website in real time.
PennDOT piloted the system on about 100 trucks last year. Officials said they hope to eventually outfit the state's other 2,100 vehicles and another 270 long-term rental vehicles.
“It’s going to allow us to be more efficient with our equipment," PennDOT Sec. Leslie S. Richards said. "We are going to be able to see what the most efficient routes are and how often we run them. We expect to save $1.4 million over the four to six years as this program is laid out.”
Pittsburgh rolled out a similar program last year. Mayor Bill Peduto said at the time he was pleased with the results.
PennDOT maintains more than 40,000 miles of Pennsylvania roadway.