During the record setting winter of 2013-2014, the Village of Glenview, IL snow plows were kept busy with 80 inches of snow falling in the area. Combined with very low temperatures causing icy roads, there were very real concerns about driver fatigue, salt reserves, and snow removal budgetary issues.
Working together with Public Works, the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was able to simulate the best routes available in the village for use with two scenarios, one with involved 10 snow plows and one that involved 12 snow plows. By modeling the best way to remove snow in the least amount of time through GIS, the Public Works department was able to identify inefficiencies in the existing routes. This tool was also able to provide turn by turn directions to the drivers, ensuring that these new routes would be easy to implement through staff training.
While the increase in route efficiency was one of the desired goals, this project provided results in two other ways. The cost savings associated with a quicker and more efficient snow plow route provides more monetary resources for the Public Works department to provide other quality services to the residents of Glenview. Safety is also a major consideration, and the less time a snow plow driver is on the road, the safer the roads are for snow plow drivers, pedestrians, and other vehicles.
With the aid of GIS, the village developed a powerful cost saving tools that allow for greater flexibility in winter operations, and better service to village residents.