Vaughan 'first municipality' in Canada to use AI for road salt this winter

10 Nov 2020 7:06 AM | Smart About Salt (Administrator)

The City of Vaughan said Friday, Nov. 6 that it's “becoming the first municipality” in Canada to adopt an artificial intelligence tool to apply salt to its roads this winter.

“This tool will ensure the city is applying the right salt, at the right time, in the right amount, in the right place,” the city said in a release.

“Using sensors, this tool will take various factors into account — including weather models, Vaughan’s micro-climates, traffic volumes, and road temperatures, moisture and conditions — to inform road winter maintenance decisions.”

The city described “this innovative approach” as key in keeping “the road network safe, while maintaining fiscal prudence and environmental consciousness.”

Environmentally conscious observers have long called for salt reduction during winter time, since increased salinity could harm freshwater organisms and contaminate groundwater.

In 2019, Elizabeth Hendriks, vice-president of freshwater with the World Wildlife Fund Canada, said in an interview that during winter time, “some of our rivers will have salt as high as oceans.”

Meanwhile, increasing tech adoption is ongoing in Vaughan.

In September, Vaughan citizens were able to use Quick Response (QR) codes to alert the city about full garbage cans in local parks.

The Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital — still under construction — is also expected to be Canada's first smart hospital.

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