Oct 26, 2021 9:17:52 PM / Brooke Loeffler / snow plow route optimization

Snow Plow Route Optimization

Restoring winter roads to driveable conditions can be a complex process. Especially for big cities, snow fighters use a variety of tools to help them clear roads in a safe, timely, and cost effective manner. One of the most efficient tools snow fighting teams can use is route optimization.

Snow Plow Route Optimization

What is Route Optimization?

Route optimization helps road fleet crews, like snow fighters, use their resources more efficiently by:

  • Balancing workloads throughout a fleet
  • Providing the highest and most efficient level of service
  • Organizing routes to meet your work force’s needs (for small and large operations)
  • Helping fleets work smarter, not harder
  • Consistently reviewing to solve problems and increase efficiency

Route optimization software uses mathematical algorithms to help teams map out their routes and prioritize the most critical arterial roadways first. These programs can help track mileage, cycle time, and other data, as crews follow their optimized routes.

Some route optimization companies offer services along with their software to help teams gather data, draft up routes, edit and review, and finalize their routes.

Route Optimization Benefits

Snow fighting teams have enjoyed many benefits after employing route optimization.

  • Clear roads faster
  • Reduce work cycles
  • Reduces vehicle wear and tear
  • Save of fuel costs
  • Less deicer product used
  • Reduce/eliminate left hand turns (which can deposit snow in the middle of an intersection)
  • Reduce inefficiencies like route overlaps, deadheading, missed routes, etc.
  • Easier to plan and budget for future storms

The following webinar, from C2Logix, reported on real world benefits enjoyed by cities across Colorado after using Route Optimization. (Skip to the 9:39 mark)

 

According to a collaborative report from multiple snow belt states:

"DOTs have successfully used both route review and route optimization tools to improve winter maintenance performance and efficiency. Several route optimization projects report route length reductions on the order of 5% - 10% while reductions as high as 50% have been reported in one case." 

• Click here to see reviews for popular route optimization software.

Math and Manpower

No matter how slick route optimization programs are, they must be combined with real world input from your team. The best route optimization programs take the math from the software and input what your crews see in person in the real world. Here are some examples of feedback snow fighters can contribute:

  • Best and safest locations to turn around
  • Areas of persistent shadow (due to low light in canyons, between high rise buildings, etc.)
  • Local microclimates (areas that consistently see heavier precipitation/colder temps)
  • Median locations
  • Construction, etc.

Before A Storm

Teams should review routes for obviously unsafe or impractical suggestions. If it is possible, test routes under non-storm conditions and actually drive the routes looking for problems. Plan and prepare for pre-treatments such as pre-wetting deicer or anti-icing applications. Ensure communication channels are open and functioning so team members can report back easily and clearly.

During A Storm

Follow assigned routes and use the route optimization tools to the fullest of your ability. Communicate clearly if a team member is pulled off due to vehicle failure or other emergencies, and recalibrate to ensure routes get safely completed.

After A Storm

Thoroughly revise and review the routes completed, cycle time, product used, etc. Document trouble areas, or practices that need to be modified. Again, listen to real world feedback from your teams as well as statistical feedback from your software. Be ready to implement changes before the next storm.

Ice Slicer®: Proud Snow Fighting Partner

Ice Slicer®  partners with snow fighting crews all across the country, and we know that providing you with the best products, improves safety for all of us.  By selecting higher performing deicer like Ice Slicer®, snow plows can reduce the number of passes they need to make, reduce cycle time, and achieve bare pavement faster. 

We are so grateful to the brave and hardworking snow fighters who keep us safe all winter long. You truly are the first, first responders. Ice Slicer® is proud to offer tools and support to snow fighting teams that improve safety and increase productivity. Thank you for all you do!

© 2021 Redmond Minerals Inc.