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Nature could meet its match with high tech snow removal

Posting in Cities

Snow plows are dutifully circling the streets in the cities of the northeastern United States as "Winter Storm Nemo" arrives in the region, yet despite those efforts, many people will be left wondering when their street still be cleared. A solution nears as new technology promises to make snow removal faster and more transparent.

New York City has built on its high tech approach to governance with a map that aggregates what progress its sanitation department is making to clear the roads. Residents can also check to see what zone their dwelling is in and when it will be plowed, along with accessing information about the weather or any emergency announcements. Other solutions take a more 'hands on' approach to snow removal.

California's Department of Transportation has commissioned the "tow-plow," a massive new type of snowplow that can clear up two lanes (or 28 feet) of highway at a time. The plow is pulled along the roadway by a specialized service vehicle. It is currently in use around the Donner Summit in Sacramento.

Other new technologies include self-heating solar-powered roads. A company called Solar Roadways has proposed the idea of paving 25,000 square miles of roadways with solar panels of its design. The solar energy produced would amount to several times the energy than the U.S. consumes annually, the company says.

Apps, mega snow plows and solar roads - how would Nemo stand a chance?

Photo: James Lee/Flickr

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— By on February 8, 2013, 6:25 AM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure