Using technology to keep Sioux Falls’ streets clear of snow and ice

Using technology to keep Sioux Falls’ streets clear of snow and ice

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The next blast of winter weather is never too far away, and the city of Sioux Falls is using technology to help keep the streets clear of snow and ice.

The plows were out in force during last week’s blizzard.

“About 900 man hours just for that event,” Streets Operations Manager Dustin Hansen said.

Logistics Specialist Kristin Lobien was busy keeping tabs on nearly 200 pieces of machinery.

“It can be stressful, but it’s also really exciting and there’s never a dull moment,” Streets Logistics Specialist Kristin Lobien said.

She’s using an Automatic Vehicle Locator, or AVL, to manage the fleet.

“She’s kind of the brainchild of all this and making sure that everything is managed correctly, everything is up to par,” Hansen said.

The city started by placing a JDLink on each motor grader.

“We’re able to track out motor graders during a snow event. We’re actually able to go back and look at the history of those motor graders,” Hansen said.

After installing the John Deere Link in 2018, the newest addition is the Geotab AVL system, allowing the city to monitor materials.

“This will actually track how many pounds we put per laying mile, which will give us a better idea of how much we’re putting on the streets, if we need to raise it or lower it, it’ll help us really keep track of our salt,” Hansen said.

The new system will also benefit the public.

“If we get a phone call for sanding you can actually pull up the map and find the closest sander, get a hold of that sander, and have them go to that location, so that’s a really cool tool,” Lobien said.

“Hopefully this will help to show the citizens we’re just about ready to go in this area, get your cars off the streets, you don’t want a parking ticket, we don’t want to have to plow around a car because a lot of times we have to go back after the fact,” Hansen said.

Making life easier on everyone.

“Our key is to get as much information out to citizens so they know what’s going on,” Lobien said.

The Geotab system cost about $20 per vehicle, per month. Hansen plans to use them on equipment during the summer as well.

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