Meeting Date: January 12, 2005

Subject: Procurement Authorization - Additional Information - Supply Of Cab-Over-Front-Axle Tractors


It is recommended that the Commission:

1) Receive information below in response to the Commission’s request for additional information regarding Procurement Authorization – Supply of Cab-Over-Front-Axle Tractors Report No. 9 as initially reviewed at the Commission on December 15, 2004.

2) Approve the attached Report No. 9 entitled Procurement Authorization – Supply Of Cab-Over-Front-Axle Tractors dated December 15, 2004, attached as Appendix “A”.


At its meeting of December 15, 2004, the Commission requested staff report back on enquiries raised during review of Procurement Authorization Report No. 9 – Supply of Cab-Over-Front-Axle-Tractors regarding the TTC’s need for such robust and expensive vehicles, the expected longevity of these vehicles, and justification for the recommended option for foam filled tires.

Summary of TTC’s Requirement for Recommended Vehicle

TTC operations staff have a specific requirement for vehicles that can provide the prompt removal of snow and perform sand/salt spreading operations from sidewalks on all Commission properties (ie subway stations, bus loops, emergency exits etc.) throughout the City within 12 hours of a storm as per City requirements. Presently, the TTC is experiencing difficulties in adhering to the 12 hour requirement. Currently, TTC snow removal operations at station locations are handled by two large tracked vehicles and the salt/sand spreading is handled separately as a manual process.  The tracked machines are difficult to manoeuvre, are prone to breakdown, and require constant maintenance.  The replacement cost for the tracked machines is estimated to be in the range of $115K to $125K which is substantially higher than the cost of the recommended cab-over-front-axle vehicles.  Alternatively, skid steer loaders with an estimated purchase cost of $50k/unit (not including sand/salt spreader), are currently utilized on a limited basis at smaller locations but due to their light weight are not effective in plowing large amounts of snow.  In addition, skid steer loaders are not roadworthy vehicles suitable for travelling between locations and therefore must be transported from station to station utilizing a trailer.

The recommended cab-over-front-axle vehicles provide both plowing and salt/sanding functions concurrently thus freeing up snow clearing staff who could be utilized elsewhere.  The recommended units are specifically designed for sidewalk clearing operations.  Given operational constraints at a number of subway stations, reversing manouvers are required to adequately remove snow.  The current tracked machines and the cab-over-front-axle design offer optimum sight lines and operator visibility allowing the operator to physically turn their heads to face the rear of the vehicle while reversing.  The seat restraint systems in skid steer loaders do not allow the operator to turn their head to see what is behind them and this increases the possibility of vehicle contact with other objects or pedestrians.

Additionally, due to the short time constraints allowed to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, and given the distance between subway stations and Commission maintained properties, the selected equipment must be capable of travelling on City streets in mixed traffic in poor weather conditions.  The maximum speed of the recommended vehicle is 30kph thus enabling the operator to safely travel in an enclosed and secure tractor cab environment between locations.

The recommended cab-over-front-axle tractor is manufactured by Trackless Vehicles Ltd., whose production facilities are located in Ontario.  The vehicle is utilized by many municipalities throughout Ontario, Canada, and internationally.  According to the manufacturer, the City of Toronto and local companies under City snow removal contracts use approximately 50 units (12 owned by the City alone), the City of Mississauga has 28 units, and the City of Ottawa has approximately 40 units.  Staff has contacted the Cities of Toronto, Mississauga, and Ottawa and confirmed the information as provided by the manufacturer and also confirm their satisfaction with the vehicle’s performance.

In addition to performing the presently required winter functions, the Trackless vehicle is flexible as it offers multi-seasonal attachments (ie lawn mowers, sprayers, sweepers etc.) that TTC departments could select as add-on options at a future time if required.

Anticipated Longevity of Recommended Tractor

According to the manufacturer, tractors used strictly for snow removal should expect service lives of 20 to 25 years.  Heavy users such as the US and Canadian military should expect service lives of approximately 12 years.  In accordance with replacement targets set out in the 2005-2009 Capital Program, staff budgeted for service lives of 15 years for the proposed vehicles.

Provision of Foam Filled Tires

Filling tires with foam is an industry standard for many applications and is offered by many industrial tire companies such as the following ( ie. Unitrac Industrial Tire Ltd, Beverly Tires Ltd., ITL Tires Ltd., Concord Tries Ltd., Mississauga Tires Ltd., Industrial Tires Ltd. etc).  Tires on construction vehicles are commonly filled with foam to prevent leaks and flat tires.  Foam also adds weight to the tires improving vehicle traction.  TTC maintenance staff and user departments have requested tires on slow speed vehicles (ie loaders, backhoes, etc.) be foam filled to prevent flats.  The provision of the foam fill option (approximately $1,100/vehicle) will help ensure the tractors are reliable and available for dispatch at all times, save on flat tire repair costs, and minimize vehicle downtime.

January 12, 2005


Appendix “A” - Commission Report No. 9 ( December 15, 2004 Meeting)