(WDEF) The city of Chattanooga hopes to avoid a scene like that one in the future. Lee Norris of Public Works said, "People always want to know, okay, is my street being cleared? Where are we at?"
A $131,000 investment in truck-tracking technology can answer those questions. The city recently bought computer equipment that tracks where crews are spreading salt and sand. Norris added, "It works off of GPS satellite, transmits to a website and we can monitor the position of all the trucks in Public Works on that website."
That means you can log on and find which streets have been sanded and plowed, and which ones haven't. Norris said, "So it will give people a little bit of real-time information on where we are to providing services to them."
But its not just for snow events. The system should come in handy for other natural disasters, too. Norris added, "Let's go back a couple of years ago when we had the tornado that came through, I had crews out all over the city and the crews could tell me via radio that hey these roads are blocked, these roads are open. If we had those devices on there we could have had that updated on the maps and the citizenry could have looked and found out which ones were open and which ones were blocked."
You can also log on to find out where the trucks are for loose leaf collection. And officials think all of this real-time data can help make their jobs more time efficient, too. Norris said, "If I've got 10 trucks that are equipped the same way I can figure out which one's the closest and get them there."
Norris says the tracking devices should be installed on the trucks this summer...
With the mapping website up and running this fall.