Effective Ways Local Governments and Municipalities Use GPS Vehicle Tracking

GPS tracking devices have been used with success by commercial fleets and police departments for a number of years, and now towns and cities have begun joining their ranks. As municipalities and other local governments face shrinking budgets, GPS vehicle tracking has become an increasingly popular way to cut costs and improve efficiency. 

Without GPS tracking, municipalities find themselves struggling to manage fleets that they can't see while using them can offer a whole range of benefits. Installing GPS tracking devices on snow plows, waste management vehicles, street sweepers, and other municipal or public works vehicles, can help provide valuable insight into how fleets are being used. In turn, this information can help towns more effectively manage their existing assets. Here's a look at some of the ways GPS tracking can benefit cities and towns. 

GPS Tracking Devices Reduce Costs

Fuel costs can add up to a significant expense for local governments that have a sizeable fleet and GPS tracking system can help minimize the speeding and unnecessary idling that leads to wasted fuel. These driving behaviors can have a surprising impact on fuel efficiency. In addition, GPS tracking data can help towns and cities develop more efficient snow removal and waste collection routes, enabling these vehicles to conserve even more fuel. For example, in Islip, New York, a 106-square mile network of communities, benefits of GPS-based fleet management were apparent within the first year of their use. Fuel usage over a 3-month span fell by nearly 14,000 gallons when compared to the same 3 months the previous year. This reduction saved the town over $32,000.

Careful fuel use doesn't just save money for local governments, it also helps to minimize the carbon footprint of the town. Reducing inefficient behaviors that contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases can make a big difference over time.   

GPS Tracking Increases Accountability and Improves Efficiency

One of the many benefits of GPS tracking technology is that it can improve the efficiency of municipal fleets in a variety of ways. Snow removal, for example, is a significant expenditure in a city budget. Planning efficient routes can be instrumental in minimizing this expense and can be achieved through the review of speed, location, and route data. This information can be used in a number of ways including: 

  • Rerouting around known traffic delays
  • Identification of areas that have or have not been plowed
  • Locations of vehicles in case of emergency situations where assistance needs to be dispatched quickly

Improvement of Driver Safety Using GPS Metrics

Both municipal and citizen drivers can reap safety benefits from the use of GPS vehicle trackers. Tracking data from public works vehicles provides a wealth of information about driving habits, including: 

  • Speeding 
  • Behavior in unsafe conditions, or specific areas such as school zones, neighborhoods, construction zones, etc. 
  • Heavy braking
  • Stops
  • Detours

Once these behaviors are identified, fleet managers can begin a course of action to discipline or advise drivers, as needed, implementing new courses of action that lead to greater efficiency on the road. Discovering and eradicating unsafe driver behaviors can help to improve the overall safety of a town. For example, after GPS trackers were introduced in the city of Augusta, Georgia, the number of accidents reported to be the fault of municipal drivers was reduced by nearly 30% in the first 12 months, due to accountability and disciplinary actions. 

Another safety concern is vehicle maintenance. Some GPS trackers can be set to issue alerts about vehicle maintenance needs, such as oil changes, as well as ongoing repair needs. Ensuring that municipal vehicles are maintained can reduce the risk of potentially dangerous situations on the road.

GPS Trackers Can Provide Valuable Information The Benefits Municipalities

If a municipal fleet has the misfortune of finding itself in the midst of a lawsuit, GPS tracking data can help refute claims surrounding driver behavior. With information from GPS tracking software, a vehicle's exact location and speed at a given time can be retrieved, providing valuable evidence in court. Additionally, this technology can help prevent lawsuits. If a city vehicle is involved in an incident, those in charge will be notified or will be able to check records immediately so that reparations can be made before the incident escalates to a lawsuit, if possible. 

Local governments are making good use of GPS tracking devices for their fleets. Because there are so many benefits to using GPS, this is only expected to grow, delivering even more benefits to municipalities going forward. The data provided by GPS trackers can be used to achieve a variety of beneficial results if used properly by municipalities. These benefits are only expected to increase over time.