BLOG: When It Snows, You’ll Want This App for Winter Driving

By: Megan Healey, Deputy Press Secretary

January 11, 2016

With the winter weather, comes the annual annoyance of time spent dusting off your car, scraping your windshield, and waiting patiently for the roads to become passable once again. So if you aren’t already, make sure you are using PennDOT’s 511 system (there’s an app for that), where you can now monitor hundreds of the state’s plow trucks remotely, and, essentially, in real-time.

Snow in Harrisburg

Through an expanded pilot program announced by Governor Wolf and PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, more than 700 plow trucks covering interstates and expressways statewide have been outfitted with technology to improve location and operations information.

The goal of the Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system is two-fold:

  1. Internally, it will help improve the department’s real-time information on vehicle movement, plow-route coverage and usage of materials such as salt and anti-skid.
  2. Externally, it will allow 511 PA users, beginning in January, to track over 500 PennDOT plow trucks and more than 200 contracted rental trucks servicing interstates and expressways across the state (note: there are nearly 2,500 PennDOT owned/operated plow trucks, so this pilot only covers a portion of the state’s fleet).
PennDOT headquarters

The AVL pilot is part of Governor Wolf’s GO-TIME initiative that leverages inter-agency coordination and collaboration to maximize efficiency, modernize state government operations, and provide the highest quality services. This particular program has a projected cost savings of $1.4 million over the next four to six years, based on a combination of reduced salt usage and better use of department equipment.


You can watch Governor Wolf and Secretary Richards talk in depth about the benefits of this pilot, and how plow truck-tracking works. For more information on winter operations and how to prepare for the season, visit



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