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Toronto gets snow plow app, but Ottawa gets stuck

TorontoSnow
Dude, where’s my plow? Apps to locate snow removal services debuted in Toronto recently. Similar apps are working well in Montreal but not at all in Ottawa.

As central Canada experiences a winter sky-dump, with Ottawa currently strugging under 37 centimetres of wet, heavy snow, cities are increasingly turning to apps and real-time tracking technology to keep citizens apprised of snow clearing operations.
Toronto’s www.toronto.ca/plowTO website launched this morning, in a beta version, on the understanding that the site “is still undergoing testing and will continue to evolve based on user feedback.”
Toronto’s site uses GPS technology to track the 600 road plows, 200 salters and 300 sidewalk clearers used by the city as they move around the grid, clearing streets.
With a further 10 centimeters on the way by the end of the day, Ottawa looks likely to break a snowfall record set in 1947.
Unfortunately for Ottawa, the city’s “Where Is My Plow?” app has been non-functional all day, having launched in December in the middle of a major storm to mixed reviews from users.
Ottawa’s fleet of 580 snowplows, sidewalk blowers and graders will be out working, but apparently not being tracked by the city’s app.
The Where Is My Plow? site displays the message “Ottawa is experiencing extreme winter storm conditions. At this time, Road Services crews are focussing on plowing Highway 174, transit routes, and arterial and collector roads,” adding, “Where is My Plow provides time estimates for snow plowing on local roads only. Plowing of local roads will begin as soon as resources become available once the priority transportation network is in good condition. The Where is My Plow tool will be available at that time. Please check back for updates.”

Toronto’s app, looking to avoid the frustrations seen by Montreal’s Info-Neige during its first year, has a proviso posted on its site, reading, “The City provides this service to the public on an “as is”, “as available”, basis. The City does not make any express or implied warranties, representations or endorsements with respect to the application.”

Montreal’s Info-Neige application is now in its second year of operation, and seems to have worked out the many kinks that plagued it during its debut winter.
Last winter, the app was plagued with behaviour that users described as “buggy”, with lengthy lag times between streets being cleared and showing up as cleared in the app.
In its second year, the Info-Neige app, developed by Heritage Software, appears to have worked most of those bugs out.
The app, available from iTunes and Google Play, keeps Montrealers up to date on snow removal operations in all but two of the city’s 19 boroughs.
Info-Neige keeps track not only of plowed roadways, but also the city’s 395 kilometres of bike paths.
Snow clearing equipment is equipped with GPS technology and allows users to track snowplows in real time.
Toronto’s app, looking to avoid the frustrations seen by Montreal’s Info-Neige during its first year, has a proviso posted on its site, reading, “The City provides this service to the public on an “as is”, “as available”, basis. The City does not make any express or implied warranties, representations or endorsements with respect to the application.”

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