During cold days, there’s a lot of action on the yard of the technical services in Offenburg: Large gritters drive in and out, employees fill the road salt containers and clean the snow ploughs. However, the Deputy Head of Operations there took his time to report on the challenges of the winter service and shared his experiences with the new sensor technology MARWIS.
Roads are icy, an accident occurs – who to blame? It was often impossible to clarify such cases previously. Since the end of 2015, a valuable proof deliverer we had missed so much accompanies us on our tours: the mobile road weather sensor MARWIS.
A recent case shows how important the MARWIS data can be: Two cars collided frontally in Offenburg. Both drivers were injured. Also in this case, the question was who to blame – the driver(s) or the winter service neglecting its duty? Thanks to MARWIS, we were able to proof that we have fulfilled our duties.
The new sensor is aboard our control vehicle driving out as the first one every morning. This first control tour provides us with both the required information and the related weather data for the daily planning.
In the described accident, we were able to show on our emergency laptop that black ice occured at this day. Since then we have passed this critical spot more than once per day in order to avoid further incidents.
After a control tour in the early morning, my colleagues and I used to have a meeting to evaluate the measuring data together. They are the basis for the further day schedule determining which routes are checked how often during the day. For this, it’s important that all rush hour traffic routes are cleared before 7 :00 am. Our daily winter service duty regularly ends at 10:00 pm.
In cases of extraordinary critical road conditions, the tracemate call function helps me to reach our on-call service quickly – even after 10:00 pm. It is capable of calling several phone numbers at once and read out a defined text such as “please come to the yard within the next 15 minutes”. Previously we had to call everybody by ourselves – therefore this software function takes much work off our hands.
For us MARWIS in combination with tracemate constitutes a great improvement without doubting our drivers’ know-how or removing any decision responsibility from them. We trust them and think they can decide the best whether to scatter road salt or not. But MARWIS and tracemate are a perfect matching aid in order to design processes more efficiently. Also the approval through the works council didn’t cause any problem. They fastly understood how we can benefit from the new equipment.
Due to the good experiences with the sensor telematics system we want to expand our measurement equipment soon. We plan to mount another sensor on a narrow-gauge vehicle we use for the clearance of footpaths and cycle paths. Also pedestrians and cyclists sometimes have accidents caused by slipperiness on surfaces. Therefore there still exists a huge improvement potential through the new technology.
|About the author:
My name is Raphael Lehmann and I’m Deputy Head of the Winter Service at the TBO (Technical Services of Offenburg). I’ve been working there for 10 years now and started with a road builder apprenticeship. Afterwards I took my master craftman’s diploma at the HWK (Chamber of Crafts) and completed it with a graduation in business management. It’s important for me to always look out for new technologies on the market in order to improve our workflows.