A dispatcher with Prince George's Department of Public Works trains on the new snow plow tracker. Next year, the plan is to expand use of the system to include residents who may want to check the location of a snow removal vehicle.
Snow removal trucks started rolling out at 4 a.m. this morning to test out a new GPS-based tracking system in Prince George's County. For the first time in the county, the Department of Public Works will be able to monitor its fleet of snow emergency vehicles in real time using a GPS system that doesn't look too different from Google maps.
They canvassed more than 5,000 miles of county roads, and each truck was equipped with a new automated vehicle locator system. The AVL, as the drivers call it, looks like a large GPS device inside the truck.
"That way in the command center they can tell where every truck is and where every truck been," says Vanessa Gordon-Watson, a truck driver with the DPW. She says the new technology will be helpful to residents who call the command center after a snow storm and want to know how close a plow is to clearing their street.
"It will even tell you when the plow down … how much salt I’m spreading and everything," she says.
Next year, the department plans to expand the system to allow Prince George’s County residents to log on from their personal computers and track the plows for themselves.