We introduced citywide application of our “hot mix” of brine and beet juice before snow begins falling. By expanding its use, we expect to reduce the amount of salt we use.
For the first time, we have enough trucks to eliminate the downtime caused by converting the leaf collection trucks to snowplows and back after a storm. In the past, District residents had to wait for their streets to be cleared of snow and ice while we transitioned from leaf collection to snow removal.
We introduced an upgraded automated vehicle locator (AVL) system and installed devices in all vehicles in the snow program, including those used by contractors. Through AVL, we track all vehicles on the street. This equipment also gives residents an “eye on the street” to see where our plows have been. Track our plows at Explore the AVL application.
We also are testing what we call a “smart” spreader that reports when it’s in use, its location, and the amount of salt being spread per lane mile. This acquisition has significant environmental and budgetary implications. For the first time, managers will be able to track, in real time, the use of salt during a winter storm. We have installed 21 of these spreaders on our plows. Eventually, all plows will use this equipment.
We are testing new plows that can pre-wet salt to help it stick to the street. This is especially useful in the beginning of a deployment, when we lay an initial layer of salt. Dry salt doesn’t stick to dry pavement very well, so this should help us keep more product on the street, thus reducing waste.
Our drivers, via their phones, will be able to rate the status of their routes using the “Survey 1,2,3,” app in real time. This information will be reviewed by the Zone Captains and our Service Verification Teams for validation.
We are using new software, known as Mapillary to photograph our completed routes as well as an upgraded “Collector” application, which lets us know when those routes were completed and by whom.
We are implementing a pilot project to test and evaluate a potential method to reduce the use of salt, which can be toxic to aquatic life and cause damage to our infrastructure. The pilot will be conducted in sections of Wards 4 and 8 where calcium magnesium acetate will be spread on certain commercial streets rather than salt. Each test area consists of three routes in these two wards. This test is being conducted with the assistance of the Department of Energy and Environment. The Snow Team had planned to conduct this test during the 2019-2020 snow season; however, only .6 inches of snow fell the entire season.