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Constructive Feedback Requested for Cost Saving Service

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by KnowWhereBetter, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. KnowWhereBetter

    KnowWhereBetter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I'm developing a service for state, county and municipal government that optimizes (shortest path, least cost) snow routes, and permits to route to be loaded into an i-phone, or android device for turn by turn guidance. I'm not sure if it would be useful to the parking lot contractor, but would be interested in hearing from the community if there is a fit.

    As it stands, the process permits the modeling of physical constraints:
    • deadhead speed
    • service speed
    • left, right, and u-turn time penalties
    • traffic signal delay
    • service level objectives (I'll return in 3 hours to re-treat)
    • available fleet size and specific capabilities of each type
    • vehicle capacities
    • special vehicle characteristics (only truck x can service area y because it has a drop spreader)
    • operational costs (time or distance based)
    • time and material requirements at each site.

    The i-phone / android device guides the driver through the 'optimized' route identifying when to service (salt / plow) and when to deadhead. Optionally if the user wishes, predefined obstacles or hazards can be displayed in advance as warning.
  2. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

  3. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    Hee hee hee ...

    What is deadheading?

    Wouldn't it be best to encourage the operator to look through the windshield for obstacles and hazards rather than looking at their I-phone for them?

    Guidelines and directives are a must...but penalized for making a wrong turn?

    How are proper service level objectives determined, updated and met on their I-phone during ever changing weather events?

    I'm all for capturing time and material data, but I would be concerned about malicious obedience once you eliminate judgment expectations.
  4. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    Great.....More Big Brother..:eek:

    Nextel has GPS that records and captures data is you so choose to have this service.....

    I gotta be honest with you....I don't see much use for this Product...JMO...
  5. KnowWhereBetter

    KnowWhereBetter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    deadheading is traveling in a non service mode (plow up, spreader off) between treatment sites.

    hazards are displayed graphically and by tone or message based on proximity to hazard (operator does not have to look at screen for hazard). Some suggested hazard types for highway plowing are bridge expansion joint, rail crossing, island ... These physical hazards may be buried.

    The optimized route is the planned activity, there is no penalty for deviating. The actual route driven can be optionally captured, but is not required.

    Service level objectives (SLO) by DOTs or municipalities are often defined by traffic volume and route importance (buses, emergency vehicles, etc.). Do common commercial plowing contracts contain wording that define service levels?

    The optimized route concept is a pre-plan for meeting SLO for each of the must plow locations.


    This is not envisioned as a big brother is watching you, rather than a planning tool.
    [*]Where do I have to go
    [*]How frequently do I have to return
    [*]How much time will it take to treat
    [*]How much material will I need
    [*]How long will it take to get between sites
    [*]Will I have enough material after treating site a to treat site b, if not how about site c, or d, or e,or f, or g, or h...
  6. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    Won't eliminate the shot caller as protocol will need to change as quickly as the storm does....but it's all good stuff.

    Good luck to you.
  7. Advantage

    Advantage Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    I would like to see something like that on an IPhone app
  8. ddb maine

    ddb maine Senior Member
    Messages: 832

    I would like to see an iphone app where you can add co-ordinates of sites and get real time readings of snow drop and current accumulation. That would be usefull for guys with sites around town, especially in hilly/mountainous regions. Weather patterns are completely different one side of town to another sometimes. Incorporate your trigger depths for different sites and youll know who is ready when without having to do drive-bys. I don't believe current technology has this kind of accuracy yet.
    Last I read they were working on refining gps system accuracy so they could incorporate a gps system into the brains of blind people and by tapping brain and bypassing the optic nerve they would be able to project images for people to navigate with. But currently I believe gps is only accurate to about 6-10 ft, so thinking they are walking into the kitchen yet they are falling down the basement stairs is not such a good thing.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  9. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,264

    Am I the only one who maps out routes by using google/mapquest/whatever direction's prior to the snow falling? Then as a backup I use my GPS if there are issues while out plowing in the storm.

    I find that by "plotting" out all of my properties I'm able to find out which is the quickest route to reach all of the properties and stick to it during the storm. If there are any intangibles, then I use my GPS to guide me through backroads to get there a different way. I'm all for technology helping out but sometimes common sense cost's less and is more reliable.
  10. toby4492

    toby4492 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,513



  11. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    when I had my own routes I did that, this way if someone had to take my route for me if I was sick as a dog, or in my case the truck got wrecked, I was able to hand my route book off to a friend who was then able to service my accounts without any delay in getting lost.

    I was following my phone based gps couple a winters ago and it tried to drive me over a pedestrian bridge......:laughing: I'm sitting there looking through the windshield snow flying everywhere thinking to myself how something so great one moment can be a total bust the next.
  12. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,264

    You have to love when the GPS tries to end your life. And we want to invent artificial intelligence....no thanks.
  13. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    it would take over 10 years to completely create a system that full works correctly and makes the correct choice on what to send where. Its a concept that is realyl badly needed for this industry, but there is so much thought process that goes into the entire choices that we all make, i dont know that a "turn the key" program could ever possibly run it correctly for every person in every situation. in fact if you really think about it, its just a big circle of questions that you then ask your self. creating a route prior to the storm is a good idea, though process about what trucks should plow what (due to salt requirements, or needs of equiptment)... but what gets planned...really fully works for every strom...second something brakes the plan changes. the order that we plow at 2 am isnt the same as 6 am.
  14. KnowWhereBetter

    KnowWhereBetter Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I've heard stories of people being misguided by their GPS "That's not a road that's a corn field!". What I'm proposing however is more of a planning tool for the average response, so the route results would be reviewable in advance for those unreasonable pedestrian type bridge issues.

    i.e. "I have 13 trucks each having various capacities, 8 snow blowers, and 3 guys behind shovels"

    During any typical event I have to respond to 48 sites each having different requirements of man hours, equipment types, and materials. What is my typical response plan?
    Who goes where with what for how long, .... when complete then where do they go, for how long?