Snowy driving conditions are challenging—especially if you’re not prepared.
To help drivers get a better edge on Old Man Winter and to help reduce road maintenance costs, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is now offering a near real-time online view of driving conditions, which includes reports on incidents, road construction, weather and the locations of hundreds of snowplow trucks.
The pilot program, viewable at www.511PA.com, also includes a mobile app which lets drivers listen hands-free to reports that focus on interstates and expressways throughout the Keystone State.
“This initiative will improve PennDOT’s operations by looking for efficiencies in how the agency’s fleet is operating during the winter months, while promoting transparency by allowing the public access to this information,” Governor Tom Wolf says in a PennDot press release.
“This is a step forward in showing Pennsylvanians how hard PennDOT is working to keep them safe during the winter season.”
The public can view the location of more than 500 PennDOT plow trucks and more than 200 contracted rental trucks this winter through the 511PA website.
However, storms and other events can prompt changes in truck scheduling which may not allow all of PennDOT’s trucks to be constantly visible on the website, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards explains.
“We’re excited to educate the public about our operations with this pilot, but they won’t see all of our more than 2,000 trucks across the state,” Richards says.
Statewide, PennDOT has more than 2,200 total department-force trucks and also rents approximately 270 trucks and their operators to maintain more than 40,000 miles of roads.
PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system is part of Wolf’s GO-TIME initiative that leverages inter-agency coordination and collaboration to maximize efficiency, modernize state government operations, and provide the highest quality services.
The pilot, as one of seven GO-TIME projects identified by PennDOT in 2016-2017, is expected to realize a cost savings of $1.4 million over the next four to six years based on a combination of reduced salt usage and better use of department equipment.
PennDOT’s website, www.511PA.com, allows a near real-time view of its snowplow trucks.