Over the last year, since January 2010, the city has tested GPS technology in two of its city-owned cars. This year, they will test nine vehicles in the hopes of saving time and money. GPS tracking will enable authorities to see where snow plows and other vehicles operated by the city have been and how much time is spent in each location. They hope the biggest savings will come with the city’s ability to report directly to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on the miles traveled and the hours worked during a winter weather event; in the past, this information has had to be gathered manually and then drafted into a report to be sent to FEMA in order to secure funds. With GPS tracking systems in place, the information can be downloaded directly from the computer and forwarded to the appropriate personnel.
With ready access to pertinent information, Salisbury officials will better know how its resources are being used and where. With aid from FEMA based on this information, cities will greatly benefit from the funds received, especially in a disaster situation. If the trial is successful, the city may set up a public website where residents can find information on what routes have been cleared and register requests for cleanup in their area. Citizens will still be required to clear sidewalks within 24 hours of the snow stopping or face fees and penalties, but putting GPS technology to work for the city will hopefully have people back to business as usual much faster.