Who doesn’t love autumn? Cooler weather, a spooky holiday, and a kaleidoscope of colors on the trees. Of course, when these leaves fall, your municipality’s street sweeping crews will have some work on their hands.
While those colorful leaves might not sound like much of a hazard, any motorist who has lost traction on a wet or muddy mound of leaves knows better than to underestimate their danger.
And, of course, as quickly as autumn arrives, winter breezes in creating an entirely new roadway challenge in the form of snow and ice.
Ultimately, keeping roads clear of debris is an important year-round task. Along with the mess that autumn and winter can leave behind, there’s routine trash pickup, accident/nature debris clearing operations, road fixing, and more. However, doing all of this on a tight municipal budget can be challenging. That’s just one reason to consider fleet GPS tracking and fleet management software for street sweeping and snow plowing operations..
6 Ways to Improve Your street Maintenance Program with GPS Fleet Tracking
Improving your street maintenance program helps make your roads safer for commuters and helps improve your community’s overall image. The question is: How can you improve your street maintenance program without blowing your budget? Here’s where a fleet GPS tracking unit can help:
1. Optimizing Route Planning
Your municipality only has so many street maintenance vehicles that it can deploy—so it’s important to make sure that each street sweeper, snow plow, utility truck, or maintenance van can cover as much ground as possible.
Part of maximizing your street maintenance fleet’s coverage is optimizing your route planning. With GPS tracking, you can create routes for each vehicle and track their progress. GPS tracking allows you to use color-coded aging maps of routes, so you can make sure your fleet is moving on from cleared roads quickly—rather than wasting time redoing a road that was covered less than an hour ago when there’s a street two blocks over that hasn’t been touched in days.
In addition , GPS tracking allows you to create custom routes for each vehicle depending on geographic location and traffic patterns. If bad traffic arrives that would delay a vehicle’s typical route, you can easily reroute it so it can continue to work at maximum efficiency.
2. Monitoring Employee Progress & Behaviors
Most workers are dedicated to their jobs, but some can be led astray! GPS tracking enables you to monitor how closely each of your maintenance vehicles are adhering to the estimated timetables associated with their routes. This allows you to quickly identify wasteful or unauthorized use of a vehicle so it can be stopped before it dramatically impacts overall efficiency.
Vehicle tracking devices also help to ensure that drivers are using safe driving practices behind the wheel. GPS tools provide information about braking, acceleration, and other driving habits. This allows you to spot bad driving behaviors and correct them so your vehicles and the commuters who share the road with them are safer (it also allows you to give a high-five to drivers who are upholding the rules of the road and safe-driving techniques.
3. Improving Your Responsiveness to Emergency Calls
After a major weather event such as a hurricane or a car accident, it’s very likely that there will be dangerous, road-obstructing debris left in the street. The longer this debris remains on the road, the more likely it is that it will cause an accident or traffic jam.
GPS tracking helps improve your responsiveness to calls about dangerous road debris in a couple of ways:
- It lets you find the closest street cleaning vehicle to where the debris was reported—minimizing response time.
- Having an electronic map of all reported debris locations allows you to plan a route from one debris site to the next to maximize efficiency.
This lets your road maintenance vehicles operate more efficiently, clearing more debris in a shorter period of time so there’s less disruption to traffic. This also reduces complaints from commuters and nearby residents about leaves and snow on the road, the stink of garbage left on the side of the road (especially in the summertime heat) or other debris that forces commuter vehicles to swerve out of the way or sit in traffic jams due to lane obstructions.
4. Reducing Maintenance Costs
Mobile fleet management allows you to carefully track total use time, miles traveled, and the onboard diagnostics sensors of your municipal vehicles. Then, you can easily identify which may need preventative maintenance. By focusing on stopping small, easy-to-fix fleet maintenance problems before they turn into expensive-to-repair roadside disasters, you can reduce your total costs for maintenance.
5. Preventing Vehicle Theft
More than 700,000 motor vehicles were stolen in 2019 alone, and street maintenance vehicles can be a tempting target for thieves. The vehicles and their parts are valuable on the black market (and the tools and equipment they carry can be expensive to replace). GPS tracking devices provide strong antitheft capabilities, allowing you to quickly locate a stolen vehicle so it can be recovered quickly.
6. Improve Employee Morale and Safety
The drivers of your street maintenance vehicles don’t like being stuck in traffic jams or zig-zagging through difficult routes any more than commuters do. GPS tracking makes it possible to optimize their routes and make adjustments in real-time if necessary, such as if there’s an accident that suddenly stops traffic. This minimizes the amount of time your drivers spend sitting in stand-still traffic and maximizes their time spent in motion.
Additionally, GPS tracking for fleet management makes it possible to quickly identify if a vehicle has gotten stuck for any reason so you can immediately send assistance directly to the vehicle’s last known GPS location and minimize the time it takes for help to arrive. This reduces stress for your drivers in the case of a breakdown or maintenance issue and helps them get to safety sooner.
StreetComplete by Rastrac Is Your All-Weather GPS Vehicle Tracking Solution
Whether your street maintenance vehicles are conducting routine street sweeping or plowing, weather-based hazard clearing, or waste management initiatives, it’s vital that they are able to operate efficiently and effectively.
That’s where StreetComplete by Rastrac comes in.
Rastrac’s StreetComplete software is an incredibly powerful, yet user-friendly, route optimization tool. The plugin provides a report of all the streets in your municipality with a color-coded map, allowing you to establish conditions such as time since a given road was last serviced, and assign color codes to these conditions.
The system also helps you find the most efficient routes for your municipal vehicles to clear the most roads in the shortest time, increasing the area each vehicle in your fleet can cover per gallon of fuel consumed. And through GPS tracking, it provides driver and maintenance monitoring. These are just some of the many ways Rastrac’s StreetComplete GPS tracking plugin can streamline your fleet management initiatives to improve efficiency.
Ready to learn more? Download our Free Guide for Municipalities Operations that highlights how to make street maintenance and waste management easier and more efficient. Or, reach out to one of our experts or request a demo to see our fleet management software and vehicle tracking solutions in action for yourself.