© 2021 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
IPR News

Iowa Snow Plows Now All Have GPS Tracking

Flickr / thenicole

All 902 plow trucks owned by the Iowa Department of Transportation now equipped with a new GPS system. It allows vehicles to gather all sorts of data, which the DOT will use for clearing Iowa’s roadways of snow and ice more efficiently. 

Craig Bargfrede heads DOT winter operations. This new system costs about $850,000, but Bargfrede says the upgrade will pay for itself in time and money savings. 

"We'll able to go back and do a review to see, 'OK, based on this is the treatment practice based on this type of storm, how effective was that treatment practice and how fast were we able to bring the system back to near-normal winter driving conditions,'" explains Bargfrede.

The system can track plow truck locations, direction of a vehicle's travel, speed and fuel. It also monitors the type and amount of salt plows are dispensing, and gathers data on vehicle engines.

"If we can avoid blowing one engine on of these trucks, that's probably in the neighborhood of $20,000-$25,000," says Bargfrede, "that's pretty significant."