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The city of West Des Moines is a suburban community in central Iowa of about 68,000 residents (doubling to over 150,000 during the daytime due to its location at an interstate crossroads) with 800 lane miles of pavement that are all maintained by the West Des Moines Department of Public Services.  

West Des Moines Public Services has been very proactive over the years on winter maintenance operations. They have been incrementally enhancing agency practices and continuously improving performance by leveraging available resources to deploy new technologies and equipment, including: 

  • Road weather information systems (RWIS)
  • Infrared sensors for pavement friction determination
  • Automatic vehicle location (AVL) 
  • Mobile sensors on plows and other agency vehicles 
  • Integrating Mobile Observations (IMO)
  • Software, including that for route optimization and a maintenance decision support system (MDSS) for material type and application determination.  

 

These efforts have been accomplished by identifying trends and pushing technology to continuously improve and automate agency practices. 

Upgrades have been made incrementally to the entire fleet of snow plow vehicles over about 10 years, beginning with the installation of AVL around 2008. This technology determines material spread rates, pavement temperature, and the plow position. As of winter 2017-2018, all 16 snow plow vehicles—which are a mix of single- and tandem-axle vehicles—are equipped with AVL, automated spread controls, and sensors.  

West Des Moines contracts with a private-sector provider for weather services, such as RWIS information and MDSS outputs for strategies on how to handle storms. The MDSS outputs provide recommendations to operators on the most appropriate treatment strategy given the circumstances, including material and spreading rates. AVL and real-time data from the plow trucks are used to monitor the storm and road weather response, which includes feedback to the MDSS.  

West Des Moines has also implemented plow truck route optimization. Once in place, route optimization allowed West Des Moines to more effectively meet level-of-service goals in a timely manner for arterial, collector, and residential networks. 

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The city of West Des Moines is a suburban community in central Iowa of about 68,000 residents (doubling to over 150,000 during the daytime due to its location at an interstate crossroads) with 800 lane miles of pavement that are all maintained by the West Des Moines Department of Public Services.  

West Des Moines Public Services has been very proactive over the years on winter maintenance operations. They have been incrementally enhancing agency practices and continuously improving performance by leveraging available resources to deploy new technologies and equipment, including: 

  • Road weather information systems (RWIS)
  • Infrared sensors for pavement friction determination
  • Automatic vehicle location (AVL) 
  • Mobile sensors on plows and other agency vehicles 
  • Integrating Mobile Observations (IMO)
  • Software, including that for route optimization and a maintenance decision support system (MDSS) for material type and application determination.   

 

These efforts have been accomplished by identifying trends and pushing technology to continuously improve and automate agency practices. 

Upgrades have been made incrementally to the entire fleet of snow plow vehicles over about 10 years, beginning with the installation of AVL around 2008. This technology determines material spread rates, pavement temperature, and the plow position. As of winter 2017-2018, all 16 snow plow vehicles—which are a mix of single- and tandem-axle vehicles—are equipped with AVL, automated spread controls, and sensors.  

West Des Moines contracts with a private-sector provider for weather services, such as RWIS information and MDSS outputs for strategies on how to handle storms. The MDSS outputs provide recommendations to operators on the most appropriate treatment strategy given the circumstances, including material and spreading rates. AVL and real-time data from the plow trucks are used to monitor the storm and road weather response, which includes feedback to the MDSS.  

West Des Moines has also implemented plow truck route optimization. Once in place, route optimization allowed West Des Moines to more effectively meet level-of-service goals in a timely manner for arterial, collector, and residential networks. 

Other Reference Number
FHWA-HOP-18-075
Pages
4
Priority Research Area
Publication Sort Date
Publisher
USDOT Federal Highway Administration
Result Type
Reviewer
Title
WEATHER-SAVVY ROADS West Des Moines: A City’s Approach to Vehicle-based Technologies
Type
Project Category
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