Measuring the Efficiencies of Tow Plows and Wing Plows


As agencies consider purchasing new types of snowplow equipment, it is important that they understand the trade-offs between equipment costs and potential gains in efficiency. Both tow plows and plows with wings represent a greater up-front investment but are designed to allow a plow operator to clear more snow in a single pass than a standard front plow, potentially providing efficiencies in terms of plow cycle time, labor and equipment allocation, operating costs, increased level of service, and more.


To (1) to provide Clear Roads member states with a thorough understanding of the real-world costs, benefits and efficiencies associated with purchasing, operating, and maintaining tow plows and wing plows over the equipment’s entire life cycle, and (2) to provide tools to help guide states’ equipment purchases and their deployment of tow plows and wing plows on the roadways where they will yield the greatest efficiencies.

Expected Results

Through a practitioner survey, testing / simulation, and analysis, this project will quantify these efficiencies, provide a thorough examination of the extent to which these efficiencies are realized under real-world conditions, and identify the roadways best suited to deployment of the different plow types. Finally, this project will produce a decision support tool and best practices guide to help agencies more accurately assess the efficiencies, costs of ownership, and return on investment for this equipment and determine the best locations to deploy it.

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