From plowing snow off the road to trash collection in your neighborhood – the importance of your city’s Public Works Department cannot be overstated. For National Public Works Week from May 16-22, we recognize the contributions of the many Public Works and Utilities Departments that work through nights, weekends, and even a pandemic to continue delivering critical services to our communities every day.
Our work with various Public Works departments holds an even more powerful meaning, with this year’s theme being “Stronger Together.” These valuable partnerships help to better serve cities and residents by using telematics to connect multiple assets and accomplish goals once thought to be unattainable in isolation.
Snow-Cleared Roads When Every Second Counts
When a snowstorm occurs in South Windsor, Connecticut, the number one priority for Scott Yeomans is keeping residents safe. Yeomans, South Windsor’s street services associate manager, is responsible for keeping the town’s fleet of 40-plus street surface vehicles alert and ready to respond to emergency calls. In order to plow roads faster and more efficiently, staying connected with drivers is vital. Through CalAmp’s GPS fleet tracking system, Yeomans can determine a vehicle’s location in real-time and dispatch drivers that are in close proximity, ensuring the quickest response time for those in need. In fact, when a South Windsor resident calls emergency services, Yeomans typically has a snowplow at the resident’s location, clearing the way for emergency services before help even arrives.
Tracking Vehicles to Better Serve Cities
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted nearly every aspect of society, and municipal fleets were no exception. Kevin Murphy, assistant superintendent for the Department of Public Works in Kearny, New Jersey, was faced with managing the town’s fleet of 18 multi-purpose vehicles to salt and plow the roads remotely. Keeping roads safe for residents while also navigating the challenges brought on by shelter-in-place orders is no easy task, but Murphy rose to the occasion. Using GPS fleet tracking, Murphy was able to gain complete visibility into the location of each vehicle, allowing him to re-route drivers in real-time to respond to resident needs. Whether it’s a road that needs plowing or a playground that needs maintenance, Murphy can coordinate and dispatch a quick response to improve the way Kearny residents work, live, and play.
Promote Social Distancing with Connected Workflow
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recognized that the notion of “working from home” was far easier said than done for municipal fleets, particularly when it comes to snowplow operators. Before the pandemic, when operators were called in for duty, VDOT staffers would wait in a parking lot with a list of expected vehicles to manually check off each truck upon arrival. With the pandemic, VDOT knew this process needed to change to manage their own fleet of 4,000 vehicles as well as the nearly 8,000 contractor vehicles. To help reduce face-to-face interactions and maintain social distancing protocols, VDOT began using geofences in an innovative way. While commonly used to ensure drivers don’t spend time outside their designated routes, VDOT set up geofences around each district’s headquarters, allowing staff to “see” vehicles arriving without ever having to leave their office. VDOT supervisors could then continue the check-in process within their internal systems and get the operators out on the road.
This National Public Works Week, our team at CalAmp would like to thank all public works professionals for their dedication to keeping our cities running smoothly and our citizens safe. We would also like to thank the public works professionals that we have had the privilege to work with. We are honored to play a role in delivering connected intelligence about drivers, vehicles, and equipment to support the collective good of our communities, for we are truly stronger together.