Using GIS to Maximize Snow Management Efficiency


The City of Lake Forest, IL is considering purchasing land that will
function as a Municipal Services satellite location. This land will be
primarily used as a location to dump excess snow in the winter months.
Currently, snow is transported to the current Municipal Services
location on the northwest end of the city, with the centralized plowing
area where snow is retrieved being downtown Lake Forest. There are five
potential satellite locations being considered that are spread across
different areas of the city. To assist with determining the best
satellite location, the Public Works staff enlisted the assistance of
the city’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) personnel. The factors
being considered when deciding on the best site are drive time, existing
site infrastructure, and proximity to residential areas.

The first step was to map the proposed satellite Municipal Services
locations as provided by Public Works staff. Using ESRI’s Network
Analyst tools, drive times were calculated from each proposed location
to the downtown area. Residential zoning was added to the analysis to
assess potential noise disturbances along the proposed removal routes
and Public Works staff was able to provided knowledge of preexisting
infrastructure at each proposed site. After performing the analysis, the
previous Municipal Services location proved to be the most appropriate
for snow dumping. The property held the least amount of drive time from
downtown at under 2 minutes. Since garages still remain on site, there
is no need to invest in storage. Lastly, the previous Municipal Services
location is primarily surrounded by commercial infrastructure which
will reduce the concern of disturbing residence.

By utilizing GIS, Public Works staff members are able to make an
informed decision about what property acquisition best meets their
needs. While the final decision was to continue using the existing
dumping site, the property purchase is now supported with reliable data.
With this routing analysis the city is able to efficiently locate
their resources and ultimately better serve the community.