Hacking a smart snow plow system for Jersey City
Any time there’s a snowstorm, the Jersey City Resident Response Center gets slammed with calls from residents. Receiving one hundred calls in a single hour is perfectly normal. Luckily, there are city employees like Waseem and John — Resident Response Coordinators — answering the phones and responding to FAQs: Where are the snow plows? When is my street getting cleaned? How am I supposed to get to work?
At the moment, the best way to know the answers to these questions is by watching camera feeds of snow plows. Routes are often based on emergency vehicle access, so giving more concrete information to residents is often difficult due to a lack of real-time data.
This is at the heart of what we mean when we talk about democratizing the data. One of the reasons we founded Stae is to ensure the insight born from generative data, produced by urban citizens, boomerangs back to local communities. We are dedicated to working side-by-side with city workers and city managers to enhance everyday operations.
We are building an accessible way for cities to make their vehicle fleets and services more intelligent. We believe the best way to approach the problem is by building a universal solution that can speak to any system — in other words, a network that could be easily adapted to other vehicles and their use cases such as street cleaning and garbage pickup.
The way we are accomplishing this goal is by collecting data and piping it into our platform, where the data is normalized and can instantly be conversant with other city data (and can be mapped immediately alongside other critical information like 911 and 311 calls). This is a lightweight, flexible way to prototype “smart city” infrastructure that can meet real, immediate needs of cities.
After months of observing city workers and listening to their pain points, we ran our first test drives this week!
Once our system is fully up and running in Jersey City, residents will have direct access to data that frees up the coordinators at the Resident Response Center to focus on more critical issues. Citizens will be able to query the snow plows in their area to find out basic information such as routes, the availability of city services, and ultimately when they can expect their road to be plowed. We’re excited to continue building a lightweight, flexible approach to democratizing access to real-time insights and intelligent systems in places like Jersey City and beyond.