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Regina, Canada, automates snow disposal with RFID readers from FEIG Electronic

Use Cases | By FEIG ELECTRONIC | 21 July 2017
FEIG RFID solutions are used for access control worldwide, whether in snow disposals, toll bridges, or company parking lots. FEIG RFID solutions are used for access control worldwide, whether in snow disposals, toll bridges, or company parking lots.

Feig provides access control with RFID for snow and more

When winter lasts half a year and produces one metre of snow, snow disposal is one of the most important tasks that a municipality can face. The 191,000-person town of Regina, Canada, requires a budget of 6.5 million Euros for snow and ice removal each year. In order to reduce that amount, Regina relies on innovative solutions: with RFID technology from FEIG, the city of Regina was able to automate access control to its municipal snow disposal – and cut down on costly unlicensed dumping.

Silvana Cantalini, Vice President, RFID Canada, in an interview with “RFID & Wireless IoT Global”

Six months of winter, one metre of snow

In Canada, snow disposal is as important as waste disposal. The city of Regina is the capital of Saskatchewan, located in the so-called Western Prairie region. The flat terrain is well-suited for large farming operations during the summer. In winter, however, winds from the north bring a sizeable amount of snow into the plains. Snowfall usually starts in November and goes on until April. On average, each year brings one metre of snow.

The snow does not melt on its own for several months, which creates the need for a communal disposal system not unlike waste disposal. The municipality’s task is to provide a snow storage site to dispose of this large amount of snow: Each winter, up to 1,500,000 cubic metres of snow are dumped at the Regina snow storage – more than most cities produce in waste annually, and enough to fill 600 Olympic swimming pools.

Snow dumping licences have to be validated

In Regina, private companies plough roads and open spaces, and haul away the snow. “A supermarket, for example, will pay a private contractor to plough their parking lot. This contractor needs a license to dump the snow at the municipal dumping area,” Silvana Cantalini, Vice President of RFID Canada, explains. Snow can contain pollutants and chemicals which must not be brought into direct contact with ground water. Therefore, dumping snow in places other than designated disposal areas is illegal in Canada. In Regina, illegal dumping is punishable by a fine of 2,000 Canadian Dollars for individuals and 5,000 Canadian Dollars for companies.

This municipal snow disposal area has to be open 24 hours a day, but also has to be tightly monitored to prevent the unlicensed dumping of snow. All trucks coming in need to be authorised with an official contract. In practice, numerous companies and private haulers were dumping snow without a valid licence, creating high disposal costs for the municipality. Therefore, the city of Regina needed a way to automatically manage access to the dumping area and payment for non-licensed, private haulers.

Access control for contractors and trucks

In order to solve access to the disposal area, the city of Regina started looking at solutions for identiying licensed contractors. The Department of Transportation and Roadways decided on identification via RFID windshield label. RFID solutions are contactless, easy to automate, and reliable. The windshield label also has the added benefit of identifying the truck, not the driver. After a one-time fee of ten Canadian Dollars for issuing the RFID wind-shield label, the city bills operators each time they use the snow disposal.

This article was published in the "Company & Application Guide 2017 RFID | NFC | Smart Cards". Download your copy for free today and continue reading on page 68.

Last modified on Friday, 21 July 2017 13:15
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