Yesterday, Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, unveiled the city’s first GPS-enabled snow plows, allowing city dwellers to track which streets are clear.
ChicagoShovels.org, will provide a map of Chicago’s approximately 300 snowplows, making their way in real time through the neighborhoods. Anyone will have a clear view of who gets what first, and whether plows really sweep more rapidly beside the homes of the mayor, powerful aldermen — or even just the neighbor everyone hates.
If you recall last winter, some Chicagoans were caught in a huge blizzard, leaving their cars stranded on the highway. The snow plow tracking system is partly in response to that storm, and it’s part of a bigger initiative on a site trying to connect citizens and other snow-related warnings. Again from the Times, “Among other elements of the new Web site: organization of a ‘Snow Corps,’ which will match volunteers with mounds to shovel; winter-related computer applications to guide people when two inches of snow has fallen, alerting them to parking bans on city streets or, if it is too late, telling them where their car has been towed to; and an “adopt-a-sidewalk” program that will soon allow residents to share shoveling tools and claim shoveling responsibilities on a map.”