Howard County launches new snow plow tracker

Posted at 8:48 PM, Dec 14, 2016

Are you ready for snow?

Even if you're not, Howard County executive Alan Kittleman is preparing for the white stuff. Kittleman beta launched the county's new cutting-edge snow plow tracker Wednesday. 

The technology, purchased from AT&T and BSM Technologies replaces a system acquired more than 16 years ago. 

"This new snow plow tracker is infinitely more advanced than the previous software," said Kittleman. "Its real-time display will provide more accurate information for our residents during weather emergencies. It is also mobile friendly so it can be easily viewed on tablets and smart phones."

The software creates a digital snapshot every 10 seconds from each Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVLs), installed in 152 vehicles. In addition, the county purchased 25 "plug and play" AVLs that can provide an accurate picture of the snow removal process.

Residents can check snow removal progress in four different time frames - in the last four hours, between four and eight hours ago, between eight and 12 hours ago, and more than 12 hours ago. 

The snow plow tracker is one component of a broader initiative to install AVLs in a fleet of 255 vehicles. The county paid $32,400 to develop the mobile-friendly website and it will pay $12,000 annually in maintenance and support costs. The total cost of the AVL project is $301,000.

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