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How GPS Fleet Tracking Helps Municipalities be Successful in Winter Rastrac Team | Feb 9, 2023 4:57:11 AM

The winter season always brings a new set of challenges for municipalities. From clearing roads and sidewalks to managing snow removal operations, there is a lot on the plate of city workers. 

GPS tracking can help your municipality be more successful during the winter months. In this blog post, we will discuss how GPS tracking can help you stay ahead of the game during winter. Here are three ways GPS fleet tracking during winter months can help your municipality be successful:

  • Review Year-to-Date Fleet Data
  • Use Data to Develop a Plan
  • Delight Budgeting Committee and Constituents When You Save on Costs

Review Year-to-Date Fleet Data

Fleet data is a valuable tool in helping to manage winter operations, and reviewing it annually can help municipalities prepare for the colder months. GPS tracking systems allow managers to review up-to-the-minute data about fleet activity and performance to identify potential issues with equipment, drivers, or routes.

Unanticipated Route Disruptions

Unanticipated route disruptions can significantly impact a municipality's winter operations. GPS tracking can help managers identify and address these disruptions quickly and efficiently. By monitoring real-time data about the location and status of vehicles, GPS tracking can help ensure that routes are running smoothly and that crews are able to respond quickly to changes in weather or road conditions.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is a critical concern for fleet managers, and GPS tracking can help you optimize your fuel usage. According to the department of energy, fuel economy tests show that, in city driving, a conventional gasoline car's gas mileage is roughly 15% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can drop as much as 24% for short (3- to 4-mile) trips.

By tracking driver behavior and monitoring vehicle performance, GPS systems can help you identify areas where your fleet could be more efficient. Some other tips for drivers include:

  • Parking in warm places to keep engine and cabin temperatures elevated;
  • Combining trips;
  • Keeping idling time to a minimum;
  • Checking tire pressure regularly;
  • Following vehicle manufacturer’s best practices;

Ensuring your drivers are trained on operating in lower temperatures can help keep those fuel costs down!

Driver Behavior

Fleet management systems that use GPS tracking to alert drivers of winter weather hazards have been shown to prompt better driving behavior. The Minnesota department of transportation conducted a winter weather study and found that in many cases when drivers are alerted regarding icy or snowy roads, they can slow down ahead of a potential accident. Fleet management software and dashcams can provide drivers with real-time alerts to avoid incidents and ultimately save money and lives.

Compliance Verification

Fleet telematics help fleet managers observe their entire fleet holistically to see how safely, efficiently, securely, and sustainably the fleet is operating. Customized fleet telematics can help fleet managers develop operational analyses that match the precise compliance requirements or company policy data points they need to show. Fleet telematics provides fleet managers with rich data to improve processes continuously, especially in winter weather.

Use Data to Develop a Plan

The value of fleet telematics data can’t be overstated! With GPS and dashcam data, fleet managers can optimize performance and justify policy changes both to their higher-ups and drivers themselves, who may be slow to adopt changes if they don’t understand why they are being implemented.

Analyze Anticipated Weather Patterns

Weather telematics allows vehicles to anticipate or avoid adverse weather conditions and helps them to change routes to eliminate delays or disruptions. Winter weather can severely damage vehicles, so avoiding drastic conditions is important to avoid vehicle replacement or repairs. 

Engage in Routine Fleet Maintenance

Use fleet telematics to monitor vehicles’ wear and tear to engage in routine maintenance as needed before excessive winter damage occurs. This involves monitoring oil levels, cleaning all lights, testing batteries, and checking all dashboard warning lights. Fleet managers should also check tires that are always dangerous, but even more so when driving in icy, snowy or wet conditions. Be sure to check all wiper blades, windscreen wash, and antifreeze, check all vehicle brakes and equip vehicles with the necessary winter weather gear.


RELATED CONTENT: Fleet Risk Management: How to Keep Your Assets Safe During Winter


Delight Constituents When You Save on Costs

When you invest in municipal fleet management, you’re giving a signal to constituents that you want to get them the best service for their tax dollars. On top of this, the long-term savings will take a weight off your budgeting committee’s shoulders.

Budget Planning for the New Year

Fleet telematics data can help municipal governments plan and budget for fleet maintenance and improvement all year. Historical data from previous winters can help justify increased expenditures in the winter months. The data points collected from your telematics fleet tracking system can inform fleet managers where certain vehicles may have had a rough winter and require additional maintenance before the coming winter months and calculate the cost of antifreeze, salt, blade cleaning, etc. 

Justifying Investment in GPS and Telematic Technology

With big data comes big returns on investment, which is something municipal governments can be proud to share with their constituents. The winter months are historically dangerous for trucks, and cleaning the streets is a big task for any local government. Using the data collected over the years during the winter months to develop buy-in for investment in new fleet management systems shows how municipal governments are working to keep everyone safe at a fraction of the historical cost.

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