GPS Used on DPW Vehicles

By Aram Kalousdian, Editor | September 28, 2010

The city of Ferndale's Department of Public Works fleet maintains parks, streets, and the city's water and sewer system. The department has equipped 11 of its vehicles with the Owner's Eye View brand wireless global positioning system (GPS) product that can track the location of the vehicles and maintain maintenance records on the vehicles. Two additional Owner's Eye View wireless GPS units have been ordered. An additional 10 vehicles are equipped with antennas but do not have the GPS units. The GPS units are switched between vehicles as needed.

"We know where the vehicles are when we get customer complaints, and when I make my year-end reports I have an easy way of keeping track of where we've been salting, how many times we plowed the streets, and the number of times we picked up leaves," Jack Crowley, superintendent of Public Works for the city of Ferndale, said.

The city of Ferndale Public Works Department uses the Owner's Eye View wireless GPS system to reduce its fuel consumption by monitoring the engine idling time on its fleet. "One of the features that we have on our newer GPS device is the ability to see how long the vehicle has been sitting idle and whether or not the engine has been running," Virgil Blocker, of Owner's Eye View, said. By monitoring their fuel consumption, they can better manage their fuel consumption.

The system can also maintain records on oil changes, tire rotations, coolant/anti-freeze changes, and other maintenance functions.

"The units are useful for charge back as well. When the city is plowing state roads, they charge back the state. You can look at our system and it will show you the total miles driven for a particular day. Or, if a vehicle is plowing a particular state road, you can go back and look at the day-to-day activities and verify what the actual mileage was for that day," Blocker said.

Blocker said that the GPS system is useful in emergency response situations, such as when there is a water main break. "When there is a water main break, the city knows where the emergency response equipment is. They can be notified when the vehicles show up on site," Blocker said. He pointed out three areas that the GPS system can help in.

"We can help in lowering insurance, reducing fuel costs, and reducing overtime costs," Blocker said. He said that the GPS units can monitor the speed of the vehicles as well.