The fight against slippery roads – with or without snow

Although there are not many signs of winter at the beginning of this year, the technical department from Offenburg (TBO) have been in operation for a long time, the constant changes in the weather conditions show that the number of inspection trips is constantly high.

Winter road maintenance in a district town is a challenging and responsible task. As the technical department from Offenburg (TBO), a town in Germany, we ensure safety on 160 kilometers of roads, cycle paths and footpaths. Although there are not many signs of winter at the beginning of this year, we have been in operation for a long time.   

The constant changes in our weather conditions show that the number of inspection trips is constantly high, even in the absence of regular snowfall. Especially in our region on the southern Upper Rhine (in the river valley), fog causes a very high risk for the drivers. Most of the time it comes unexpectedly and forms slippery frost during prolonged cold weather.

Reliable live measurement data from the road  

Our claim is to guarantee safe road conditions with our approximately 70 employees and various types of vehicles. Since 2018 we have been using MARWIS, the mobile road weather sensor from Lufft, on all our vehicles. The MARWIS provides the necessary data directly from the road, based on which we determine the operational plan. Both the driver and the winter service management can view the current road conditions in real time and assess within minutes whether further action is necessary or where the most urgent need for action exists.    

To make the 4 a.m. briefing as efficient as possible, we have developed a traffic light system. If the traffic light turns red in a district, our employees set off on their way to full deployment.  

Responsible use of road salt 

Environmental protection is very important to us. Therefore, our principle is: As little road salt as possible, but as much as necessary. The safety of our citizens has absolute priority. In order to ensure this principle, the evaluation via MARWIS helps us enormously. We only spread salt where there is an acute danger of slippery roads. It happens, for instance, that a main road in the city center is significantly warmer temperatures than the surface of a village street outside the center. Thanks to mobile measurement, we can track this almost in real time and take appropriate action.  

Climate change and technical innovation coming with digitalization are keeping us busy. Thus, it is getting more and more important to share knowledge and experience. 

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