As winter approaches, cities across the United States are gearing up for snow and ice, challenges that can greatly impact a city’s operations and its residents’ safety.
In 2019, Kansas City, Missouri partnered with Rubicon to digitize its waste and recycling operations, resulting in significant improvements in routing, customer service, and service confirmation. Kansas City’s Public Works Department wanted to bring these efficiencies from its waste operations to the snow world.
Real time driver navigation and route tracking
One of the challenges in snow removal operations is staying on top of the situation in real time. Rubicon’s snow removal technology assists drivers in navigating their routes, tracking the streets they’ve serviced, and monitoring the materials they’ve used.
“In Kansas City we are constantly striving to improve public services—and with them, quality of life for our residents,” said Michael Shaw, Director of Public Works. “Efficient snow removal positively impacts public safety and keeps our great city moving in the winter months.”
Rubicon’s technology allows Kansas City’s Public Works Department to see where its snowplows are deployed, the intended routes of its snowplows, and what materials (typically salt or calcium chloride) have been applied and in what quantity. It also allows the Department to deploy resources more effectively throughout the city; if a certain area has been under-plowed, drivers can be redirected to these locations in real time.
Easy-to-use technology makes staffing-up a breeze
This tech-enabled approach addresses the staffing challenges that many cities face. Kansas City can now utilize personnel who are not typical snowplow drivers, as the technology guides them through their routes and tasks, allowing the city to scale its workforce based on need rather than maintaining a large staff year-round.
Every snowplow driver in Kansas City uses a tablet equipped with Rubicon’s snow removal software that shows their entire route, including street priority and recent plow activity. This is true even of City Manager Brian Platt, who visits the Public Works Department during winter storms to support the team: “Somebody hands me an iPad with a route on it, and I don’t have to think about it. I put it in the cab, and it tells me exactly where I need to go, it tells me exactly how much I have done, and how much I need to do still.”
The results speak for themselves. Over the past two snow seasons, Kansas City’s 300 snow vehicles successfully navigated through five major snow events. This achievement was recognized with the prestigious APWA Excellence in Snow and Ice Control Award, underscoring the city’s commitment to keeping its streets clear and safe during winter weather.
“We are thrilled to receive this award recognizing our commitment to keeping our streets clear and clean during winter weather,” said Platt. “The success of our continued partnership with Rubicon, as well as our other partners in this area, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the City’s public works department to keep our streets safe and accessible during the winter months.”
As Kansas City continues to pave the way in tech-enabled public works, it serves as a model for cities across the country, demonstrating that through innovation and partnership, municipalities can enhance public services, save taxpayer dollars, and most importantly, improve the quality of life for their residents.
Rubicon created a documentary featuring the success story of Kansas City, Missouri; Houston, Texas; and Glendale, Arizona. Watch the full documentary on YouTube.
To learn more about how Rubicon can help your city maximize resources, optimize routes, and become