Government Technology

    Digital Communities
    Industry Members

  • Click sponsor logos for whitepapers, case studies, and best practices.
  • McAfee

Dirty Jobs in Government: Snow Removal

Snow removal, Dragon, New York City


May 31, 2013 By

What superhero would be good at clearing snow? “Lower Back Man,” said Nick Lowe, a senior editor of X-Men comic books at Marvel Comics in a New York Times article. But for non-superheroes, snowblowers and heated driveways might defeat Mr. Freeze.

Meanwhile, Gotham must employ different tools. Blading snow onto the shoulder or into parking spaces is the first line of defense, but for a big snowfall, the stuff must be disposed of before it chokes off streets. Hauling it away is expensive, and dumping it into waterways puts road crud into the water. 

Enter the Dragon, breathing diesel fire to melt snow, filter it and send it retreating into storm drains. One such machine can handle 30 tons of snow per hour and will save on trucking costs, even though it uses 40-50 gallons of diesel per hour for heating. Even the Russian winter — which defeated both Napoleon and Hitler — is now yielding to the heavy fist of jet-engine snow blowers.

When it comes to winter campaigns, lots of new technology has been enlisted in the fight against the white menace, which in 2005 cost New York City $1 million per inch. Automated vehicle locator technology, for example, tracks where plows have been and whether the blade was up or down. GPS enables efficient deployment of snowplows and lets residents follow what’s happening as well as claim sidewalks for clearing. Real-time operations centers help monitor weather, road temperatures, snow or slush accumulation and other factors to help design the most effective response to storms.

And for the real deep freeze, Alaska is king, with some locations receiving 40 feet of snow and 140 mph winds. Under those conditions, snowplows operate with differential GPS, radar and other technologies to keep the plow in the correct lane and away from guardrails and other obstacles. 


View Full Story

| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Digital Cities & Counties Survey: Best Practices Quick Reference Guide
This Best Practices Quick Reference Guide is a compilation of examples from the 2013 Digital Cities and Counties Surveys showcasing the innovative ways local governments are using technological tools to respond to the needs of their communities. It is our hope that by calling attention to just a few examples from cities and counties of all sizes, we will encourage further collaboration and spark additional creativity in local government service delivery.
Wireless Reporting Takes Pain (& Wait) out of Voting
In Michigan and Minnesota counties, wireless voting via the AT&T network has brought speed, efficiency and accuracy to elections - another illustration of how mobility and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology help governments to bring superior services and communication to constituents.
Why Would a City Proclaim Their Data “Open by Default?”
The City of Palo Alto, California, a 2013 Center for Digital Government Digital City Survey winner, has officially proclaimed “open” to be the default setting for all city data. Are they courageous or crazy?
View All