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Winter Is Coming: D.C. Tests Out New Plow Tracking System

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District Department of Public Works drivers compare old paper map to new electronic map that shows the streets they've plowed or salted.
Armando Trull
District Department of Public Works drivers compare old paper map to new electronic map that shows the streets they've plowed or salted.

The District's Department of Public Works is deploying new technology to keep city streets free of snow this coming winter and beyond.

In the past, operators of the District's fleet of light plows, equipped with salt spreaders on the back and a plow in front, relied on paper maps to track and plan their routes through city streets. Last year, the city invested nearly $5 million to upgrade its fleet with new technology.

"At the Reeve Center, we can track what's going on and see what they're plowing and salting," says Department of Public Works Director Bill Howland. "What we decided to do this year was to test out and see if we can put these computer screens in the vehicles, so that the drivers could see exactly what they've covered for salting and plowing."

The DPW ran their first dry-run of the system on Friday.

"This is the very first day that we've tried it, and if it works out, next year we'll be putting these in all the vehicles," says Howland.

Residents of the District can view the location of the plow fleet as well on the District Snow Team website.

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