By Greg Bartlett
GPS vehicle tracking has been used by businesses to track their fleets of company owned vehicles and produce data used to save a great deal of money. Savings on fuel from limiting idling times, routing for the most efficient trip, whether shortest or not, and being able to reroute the closest driver to a project have all been done to improve fuel economy in business fleets. The city of Augusta, Georgia is now equipping 150 city owned vehicles with GPS vehicle tracking systems.
The city’s fleet manager says that the city is investing $45,000 in equipment and another $54,000 in monitoring. The GPS vehicle tracking system being used can track not only the location of the vehicles, but whether or not the engine is running, idling, off, and if the vehicle is moving, the speed, etc. He fully expects the city to save the entire cost of the systems within the next two years in fuel savings and reduced wear on city owned vehicles. Less wear means less maintenance required.
The Mayor Pro Tem of Augusta is firmly behind the program. He feels that it is a matter of accountability. These systems make information available to the taxpayers about how their money is being spent. The city has made no secret of the fact they are using these systems. Some people have mentioned the possibility of Big Brother, to which the city fleet manager replies, “Yes, if that’s what it takes to save the taxpayers’ money, Big Brother is watching.”
When asked for her opinion on the issue, a fire department building inspector said she had no opinion. “That is the decision they made and we just have to live with it,” was her comment. Public opinion on the matter seems to be that city employees who have a problem with the city knowing where they are and for how long, need a new job.
Businesses have been using GPS vehicle tracking systems as a means of fleet management for years. The city of Augusta, Georgia has determined that many of the benefits realized by private businesses from GPS systems would save tax dollars within their city. For this reason, they have invested almost $100,000 to equip 150 city vehicles with GPS systems that monitor location and status of the vehicles in real time.
The citizens of the city seem to be completely behind the program. They are very happy to know that they now can see how their taxes are being spent in city owned vehicles.