AMES With the forecast wintery mix of precipitation across the state this weekend, the Iowa Department of Transportation has unveiled a new way for the public to see costs of keeping Iowa's state-owned roads clear during winter weather.
Available to the public, the Winter Cost Calculator lets users see material, labor, and equipment costs; pounds of salt applied; and labor hours expended for the previous 48 hours during winter weather road maintenance activities. Information can be found on the total cost of statewide clean-up efforts or users can zoom to a specific area of the map to find costs associated with the area being displayed. Iowa's seven largest metro areas are preloaded in a bookmarks tab for easy viewing. Bookmarks can also be set to locations of a user's choice.
Color coded roadways show where resource usage is above, below, or in-line with the statewide average. In addition, users may click on segments of roadway to get costs specific to that segment, as well as more detailed information such as the last time a plow truck passed the segment, how much time was spent on the segment versus time spent applying material, and the length of the segment.
"Most people don't have an understanding of what it costs to maintain Iowa's roadways," said Andrea Henry, Director of the Iowa DOT's Office of Strategic Communications. "In order to manage your family's budget, you have to have an accurate picture of the costs of items you need and want. This tool allows people to have a better understanding of the resources necessary to keep their roadways safe and allows us to have conversations about the level of service the Iowa DOT can provide within the amount of money budgeted for maintenance activities."
Information presented on the map is for state-owned roadways only and does not include county or city maintenance information. The data that powers the map comes from the advanced vehicle location system located on Iowa DOT maintenance vehicles. Data from the system is processed in near real time and used for various analytics and applications to help travelers, businesses, and Iowa DOT to make better decisions.
The web application was developed in-house by the Iowa DOT's geographic information systems team. It is part of a suite of public facing GIS applications that includes the very popular Track a plow site.