NEW YORK, NY — The New York State Thruway Authority Board of Directors today approved the purchase of an enhanced Global Positioning System (GPS) for its fleet of 235 heavy-duty plows for the 2017 snow and ice season. The GPS enhancements will allow for real-time monitoring during plowing operations, including route tracking, air and pavement temperature and deicing material application rates for each truck engaged in storm response.
“The Thruway Authority does everything necessary to keep roads clear of snow and ice during winter storms, and this advanced GPS technology will not only provide improved real-time reporting of conditions, it will enhance our response to keep roads drivable and ensure motorists are kept safe,” Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “The Thruway Authority and its dedicated employees are well-prepared for this upcoming winter season and are ready to deploy even before the first flakes start falling.”
The GPS equipment will be installed by AT&T and will allow for real-time monitoring to increase operational efficiencies and condition awareness. Additionally, the new system will report pavement and air temperature conditions via on-board sensors, provide advanced reporting that highlights when each roadway section is serviced, and illustrates when plow trucks are actively engaged in snow removing operations.
The enhanced GPS system will be used on the Thruway’s fleet which services the 570-mile superhighway crossing New York State, the largest toll superhighway in the United States. The Thruway includes approximately 2,834 lane miles and 809 bridges and in 2016, was used by approximately 265 million customers.
The new GPS is expected to be fully installed by the end of 2017.
Additionally, the Thruway Authority is in the process of installing up to 12 Mesonet snow measurement weather stations that will allow for real-time, localized weather and snowfall rate monitoring. The pilot program will be launched by the beginning of December in the both the Thruway’s Syracuse and Buffalo Divisions.
The Mesonet system will collect measurements such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, surface pressure, soil moisture, soil temperature, solar radiation, and precipitation amounts for rainfall and snow accumulation.
The Thruway Authority is also installing IBM/Weather Company forecasting software and engaging Leveraging the Power of Analytics, an IBM business partner to implement the new system for 2017 snow and ice season. It will provide crews with better forecasts and real-time, localized monitoring of weather, as well as key storm-related information such as live radar, satellite images of road conditions, and forecasted storm tracks.
The information collected will allow Thruway employees and its fleet to quickly deploy to the hardest hit areas along the Thruway.