GPS Tracking Helps Improve Snow Plow Removal

8 Jan 2014


The winter season means snow in many areas throughout the country. In order to make it safer for people to get to work, school, and drive through town, snow plows are used to clear pathways when the snow starts falling.

In the past, snow removal wasn’t as efficient as it is today because of the unknowns of mother nature and lack of advanced technology. But now GPS tracking technology is enabling many states, including New Jersey, Illinois, and New York, to have safer roads more quickly and more effectively after mother nature dumps a blanket of her white stuff on the nation’s highways and byways.

With GPS tracking and monitoring for snow plow removal, real-time data is available to snow plow drivers and the managers who manage them. This technology lets them see current location and snow removal routes in real time, as well as the current temperature and where to plow next in their route.

New Jersey

The state of New Jersey sees a lot of snow every winter season, with approximately 550 snow plow trucks going along 13,000 miles of roads throughout the state. This also includes an additional 1,500 privately-owned plows by local contractors.

A GPS tracking system is now being used in New Jersey to help with the massive snow removal effort in the state. Department of Transportation (DOT) managers utilize the GPS tracking data to review the projected paths and routes of the snow plow tracks, working in real time as they go through each route.

The DOT managers also look at the amount of salt spreaders and whether or not the salt is running low, as well as look at the position of the plow blades (whether they are in the up or down position). The drivers of the trucks can also get alerts if outdoor conditions change. The entire statewide road system color coded, so impassable roads are red, while lightly-coated roads are yellow. Green means the roads are passable.


Chicago, IL is also using GPS tracking technology for its snow plows. Because snow is such a big issue in Chicago, the city is equipped with interactive maps that are available for the general public. The interactive maps are found online at theFast Coexist website.

Here, local residents can watch the snow plows on an animated map. The same technology is used by snow plow drivers when they are planning their routes as early as the night before. In fact, Storm Draco that landed in the winter of 2012, was already using real time data to help their job go more smoothly. They were able to clear the roads to make them safe for local residents the following morning with around 300 snow plow trucks.

ChicagoShovels is another tool that residents of Chicago can use to watch the city’s snow-plowing process live.

New York

Like New Jersey, snow is a problem every winter for just about every area of New York state. It can keep residents stuck at home, unable to venture out to work without the help of local snow plow trucks. GPS tracking enables snow plow drivers to find their exact location and determine what roads need to be plowed first.

There is only so much time in the mornings of a major snowstorm before heavy, congested traffic clogs highways, so they need to know which roads and streets to get to first. Residents can see where the plows are and whether or not they are nearby. This is all available through a local program called PlowNYC, where the general public gets access to the GPS tracking data.

Syracuse, NY, a city in New York that gets hammered with snow, is one of the cities utilizing GPS tracking technology in the state for their snow plows. Owners are able to schedule snow plows of their driveways almost immediately through an app called Plowz they install on their mobile phones or tablet devices. This lets them schedule a plow for the morning after a snowstorm, allowing  them to get to their job or school on time.

All-in-all, GPS tracking and its real-time data helps make for more efficient and superior snow plow removal.

1 Response to GPS Tracking Helps Improve Snow Plow Removal


Driverless Cars: Google vs. Uber | Mason NH Gazette

December 16th, 2015 at 10:51 am

[…] GPS tracking for snow removal is already underway see here. […]

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