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How to Make Street Maintenance More Efficient with GPS Tracking Brian Dziuk | May 9, 2019 1:02:00 PM

Whether your street maintenance vehicles are conducting routine street sweeping, weather-based hazard clearing, or waste management initiatives, it’s vital that they are able to operate efficiently and effectively. Why?

When street maintenance falls behind, commuters in your municipality can be inconvenienced by garbage odors and disrupted traffic patterns if debris is left in the road. Furthermore, this increases risk levels as lane obstructions can cause cars to swerve and get into dangerous accidents.

Enhancing the efficiency of your street maintenance vehicles makes roads safer for both car passengers and pedestrians while improving the aesthetic appeal of your community. So, how can municipalities improve their street maintenance program to see increased productivity and streamlined operations? GPS tracking solutions, such as Rastrac’s StreetComplete plugin, can be your key to success — here are a few ways how.

Optimize Route Planning

Municipalities have a limited number of street maintenance vehicles in their fleet, so ensuring that each street sweeper, garbage truck, etc. can cover as much ground as possible means you can operate in a more timely and cost-effective way. A GPS tracking system is a powerful tool for maximizing your fleet’s coverage and tracking drivers to make sure they actually adhere to optimized street maintenance routes.

With GPS tracking, you can 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. You will also be able 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.

Municipalities can take this even further by utilizing Rastrac’s StreetComplete technology to manage repetitive tasks through a customizable color-coding system that gives street maintenance management an “at a glance” view of how much time has passed since a particular route received service. For example, in wintertime, municipalities could use this technology to identify when a certain area needs to be snow plowed. You could then set certain colors to classify a service route that was just visited, one that is nearing the deadline for the next service, or one that is overdue for service so all drivers and fleet managers are aware of what routes should be prioritized and when.

Decrease Employee Frustration

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 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 decreases stress for your drivers in the case of a breakdown or maintenance issue and helps them get to safety sooner.

Increase Safety for Your Drivers and Vehicles

Driver and vehicle safety should be a top concern for all municipalities, which can include adhering to safe driving practices, prioritizing ongoing vehicle maintenance, and taking preventative measures against theft. It’s hard to know when your drivers are following safe driving practices when you aren't physically riding with them, but GPS tracking effectively solves this problem by giving you data on their braking, acceleration, and other driving habits. When you’re able to spot bad driving behaviors, you have an opportunity to correct them before an incident occurs that puts your vehicles, drivers, and other commuters on the road in danger.

GPS tracking can also help you determine an optimal maintenance schedule by tracking total vehicle mileage, operation time, and monitoring the vehicle’s on board diagnostics system. This way, fleet managers can easily identify when a vehicle needs maintenance before a major problem arises.

Additionally, street maintenance vehicles can be a target for theft as the vehicles themselves, their parts, and the tools and equipment they carry are often valuable. GPS tracking devices provide strong anti-theft capabilities that allow you to quickly locate a vehicle if you think (or know) it has been stolen, increasing the chance that it will be recovered so you aren’t left having to replace entire vehicles and the expensive items inside them.

Improve Response Time

Using GPS tracking to optimize route planning and activity tracking helps ensure that municipalities can handle trash pickup and street sweeping in a timely and thorough manner. This prevents complaints from commuters and nearby residents about the stink of garbage left sitting in the road (especially in the summertime heat) or debris that forces commuter vehicles to swerve out of the way or sit in traffic jams due to lane obstructions.

While a typical GPS tracking solution can help improve asset distribution in the field so street maintenance issues can be resolved in a timely manner, using StreetComplete can help you take this a step further. When you know which areas are most in need of service, you can redistribute your field assets to where they can have the biggest impact without creating wasteful overlap.

After a major weather event such as a hurricane or car accident, this becomes even more essential as it’s very likely that there will be an influx of dangerous, road-obstructing debris left behind. GPS tracking helps improve your responsiveness to calls about dangerous road debris by identifying the closest vehicle to where the debris was reported. Additionally, having access to an electronic map of all reported debris locations means you can plan the most optimal route from one location to the next, further minimizing downtime between clean-ups.

Whether your street maintenance vehicles are sitting on the lot, driving their standard routes, or responding to an emergency situation, GPS tracking systems can help drive productivity while still prioritizing the safety of your drivers.

These are just some of the many ways GPS tracking 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 in action for yourself.

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