Parsons and Iteris using informatics to help Nebraska cope with winter


With winter fast approaching, many states in the USA are preparing their plans for keeping roads open, while budgetary expense is kept under control. Nebraska will be using new technologies this year that it hopes will keep both drivers and accountants happy.

Multidisciplinary infrastructure consultancy, Parsons, has been awarded a five-year contract to provide a maintenance decision support system (MDSS) and automatic vehicle location (AVL) system and services on 650 snow plows throughout Nebraska. The company will use MDSS informatics technology developed by Iteris, a leader in big data aggregation and analysis.

The system uses data from remote weather information stations, as well as temperature data from a Parsons-equipped snow plow, to develop precision treatment recommendations for a specific segment of road. These recommendations are sent to the in-vehicle Parsons touchscreen unit along with actual weather maps. This process allows for roadway salt and other chemicals to be applied at an optimum time and at a prescribed volume before an incoming weather event, reducing the need for retreatments and lowering material, fuel and maintenance costs, while diminishing the need for overtime labor.

“One of the most expensive and labor-intensive operations performed by many states and provinces during the winter months is snow removal and roadway treatment,” said Michael Johnson, Parsons Group’s president. “We’re proud to bring our intelligent transportation systems expertise to the state of Nebraska, and to increase the safety of its winter roadways through our technology solutions for increased efficiency and effectiveness of its snow plow operations.”

Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) director, Kyle Schneweis, stated, “We are excited about this opportunity to not only improve our response to winter events, but to do so while creating system efficiencies, resulting in better value for our customers. We are committed to providing good customer service to the citizens of Nebraska and those who travel our roadways, and these new tools will help improve our customer impact.”

Ben Hershey, Iteris’s associate vice president of weather services operations, added, “We are excited to partner with Parsons to provide our ClearPath Weather and MDSS technologies to the Nebraska Department of Roads. We will be arming maintenance decision makers across the state of Nebraska with actionable weather and pavement forecast information to keep the traveling public safe, and commerce moving, during adverse winter weather driving conditions. This effort will continue the relationship Iteris has had with NDOR since 2006, when it joined the MDSS Pooled Fund Study.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).