Because of the City of Ann Arbor's use of an automatic vehicle location (AVL) system, anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone can access an online map to track the work of snowplows throughout the city. This map allows viewers to see the real-time locations and status of snow plows (where the plows are right now and what they are doing).
FAQ on the AVL tracking application
The AVL snow plow location tracking web page is always available to the public. Whenever street snow plow and deicing trucks are in active service, citizens may see a real-time snapshot of the street maintenance vehicle locations.
How is the AVL snow plow map designed?
The snow plow map defines each snow plow route by different colors. The major city streets are outlined in dark colors and the residential streets are shown in lighter hues. The user can zoom in to see map areas in more detail, such as by using the magnifying glasses in the tool bar at the top of the page.
How can I tell if a truck is plowing or de-icing or both?
Color-coded in-screen "Icons" used to identify and track the snow plow truck activities: Solid blue = ignition on; blue with green center = salt/sand spreading; gray center line = plow down; solid black = ignition off.
How can I identify the different trucks on the routes?
When you are using the AVL map, hover your cursor over the truck icon in the screen to get the truck type and vehicle number to appear. In general, larger trucks are used to plow streets while smaller trucks are used to maneuver around cul-du-sacs and other tight spaces. Trucks labeled "Utilities" may need to be redirected away from plowing efforts to attend to a water main break or other critical re-assignments.
How does the city use the AVL system?
The automatic vehicle location (AVL) system allows city staff to more efficiently manage street maintenance responses to ice and snow conditions by tracking the location, conditions, and status of plow systems (e.g., plow blade, spreader) in real time and to create reports of vehicle activities. The AVL system also allows the city to monitor a wide range of truck diagnostics for maintenance, e.g., oil level, tire pressure, speed of travel, etc.