Carolina Beach Installing GPS Units In Town Vehicles

Carolina Beach Installing GPS Units In Town Vehicles Featured

By / Local News / الأربعاء, 28 كانون2/يناير 2015 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach is installing GPS (Global Positioning System) units in their vehicles to monitor vehicle location, driver behavior and fuel consumption to gather data to help reduce costs.
The Council held a "Retreat" at the Marriot Hotel in Carolina Beach on Tuesday January 27th, to discuss budget goals and priorities for the upcoming year.
Town Manager Michael Cramer said the Council approved $20,000 funding in this years budget to install GPS units on 50 Town vehicles. The Town entered into a three-year lease on the equipment and subscription to the monitoring service.
Cramer said twenty-three out of forty-seven units have been installed and they expect all of the units to be in place by February 2nd.
 Vehicles include patrol cars in the Police Department and those in the Town's Operations Department such as the street sweeper and other general use vehicles.
During the January 27th, meeting Mayor Dan Wilcox explained, "It's great to collect that data, it's worthwhile, but who is going to process it?"
Cramer explained, "Each individual department head out of the three departments that will have GPS units - Public Works, Public Utilities and Police Department - those department heads will go and develop reports and different ways of handling that data and determine what their benchmarks are, they make recommendations to me.. and then we compare against those benchmarks."
He explained, "Right now I get on my phone every morning, five different reports from this system that say this is what's going on with this vehicle, that vehicle. So those are the types of instantaneous information that we are getting and you can make a decision at that time if it is important. A good example of that, speeding. There are sometimes when it is appropriate for speeding, for example, the police department. When they are going on a call, we ought to have something that we can back that up with. I get a speeding alert."
He explained, "That's the same type of information that each of the department heads will have" and will also include hard-braking and how long a vehicle is sitting idle.
Mayor Wilcox said, "I'm worried about catching maybe the stuff that's less complicated or less obvious than speeding such as a maintenance vehicle that goes up to the North End on the same project and makes six trips up there because they took a break, took lunch or didn't bring the stuff they needed to bring. We are able to benefit in that way to and make those things more efficient."
Cramer said, "Hey, this vehicle is over the bridge, what's going on. Why is this vehicle over the bridge? Because they are at Home Depot to get some products to do a job. Ok fine. You can see that all on this map. You can see where those dots go."
He said monitoring is done in real time sitting at a computer.
He said, "I think as you make those connections you will get into more of that. How can we order better so we don't have to go pick that up or how can we plan our work better so we don't have to make multiple trips back and fourth."
Council member Leann Pierce said if she had that system at her business, she wouldn't monitor it 24 hours a day, but would if there was a suspicion about an employee.
Cramer said, "This is not a tool for discipline in my mind. It's much more of a tool for management. How do we manage projects? How do we manage our people and how do we manage our equipment? All of this information is built into that system and as we go through and learn each piece of that I think we will get more and more out of that data collection and information."
Councilman Gary Doetsch said if an employee realizes the equipment is on the vehicle, that will take care of some issues. He said, "I think the tool for correcting any kind of a problem is probably solved when you put it in the vehicle or at least if the person driving the vehicle is smart enough to realize it."
Cramer said vehicles such as the Town's Trash Can Machine and Street Sweeper will have more advance sensors to gather more than just typical GPS data. He said, "The sweeper went ten miles today, but how many miles did it sweep with the brush down and water running? Five. We will be able to capture that data and be able to say, ok we may be driving x-amount of space but we are really only sweeping this many miles of road. And that's a management thing we can try to benchmark."
Currently officers can drive their police vehicles home after each shift.
The Police Chief and Town Manager have reviewed the Town's "Take Home Vehicle Policy" for police vehicles and recommended continuing the program until the Town has a personnel pay study completed and can review the GPS data to analyze the policy for the future.

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