MnDOT: New research could improve efficiency during snow events

November 29, 2018 10:23 PM

New research could improve how the Minnesota Department of Transportation clears roads after a snow event.

Thanks to researchers from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a new system is looking at using data to clear snow quicker.

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"This time of year, things ramp up because we have that added thing called snow," MnDOT spokesperson Kevin Gutknecht said. 


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Gutknecht said MnDOT is always working at ways to improve.

"We have to figure out the best ways, the fastest ways, the most efficient ways to get the roads clear," he said. 

Currently, MnDOT plow drivers clear the roads with the most traffic first. They're the ones responsible for estimating when roads are back to normal after a snow event.

But now analyzing computer data that combines traffic flow and weather could help them with that.

"This is something that could augment it - automate it a little bit," Gutknecht said. 

Gutknecht stresses if there is a system that helps guide drivers on where and when to go, it speeds up the process for everyone.

"We can then move assets," he said. "We can maybe adjust the chemicals that we're putting down. It makes us more efficient and we save money." 

MnDOT hopes once the research advances, it can make the winter easier on everyone.

This system has been used successfully in snowstorm simulations, but it's not a real-time tool quite yet.

But MnDOT hopes with more time and research, it could be. 


 

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Brett Hoffland

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