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.  Tow plows and wing plows require an additional up-front investment, but these accessory plow configurations are designed to allow a plow operator to clear more snow in a single pass than a standard front plow alone. These plow configurations have the potential to provide efficiencies in terms of plow cycle time, labor and equipment allocation, operating costs, increased level of service, and more.


This project’s goals were (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.


Through a practitioner survey, testing/simulation, and analysis, this project created a spreadsheet-based Decision Support Tool to help agencies more accurately assess the efficiencies, costs of ownership, and return on investment for tow plows and wing plows and determine the best locations to deploy it. A companion Best Practices Guide will help agencies understand the considerations for purchasing, deploying and operating specific plow types.

The final webinar took place on January 21, 2022.