Original post date: June 15, 2009

COLUMBIA, MOBoone County Public Works Department is hoping to improve efficiency and productivity by installing GPS tracking units on 36 department vehicles, according to the Columbia Tribune. The devices are expected to be in use by end of June.

Public works crews began installing Automatic Vehicle Locator/Global Positioning System vehicle-tracking devices on the department's dump trucks and snow-removal vehicles June 12. 

Maintenance Operations Manager Chip Estabrooks said the AVL/GPS system will help provide more-efficient snow removal, increased productivity, and overall improved customer service.

The devices will give public works officials instant information on the exact location of vehicles and information on where they have been throughout the day.

"Right now, we're tracking this by hand," Estabrooks said. The new system is becoming a common management tool across the heavy-equipment industry, he said.

County spokeswoman Porcshe Moran said the technology would eventually allow the public works department to provide accurate, real-time information to the public about where trucks plow and road status during snow events.

"Our expectations are to save money on fuel and resources like salt by being able to track our vehicles and reduce overlap in activity," Estabrooks said.

Moran said 36 units were purchased for the department's fleet through a joint contract with the City of Columbia. The total cost with installation is $20,427, with a monthly service fee of $1,854.60.

The Columbia Public Works Department has reported "greatly improved operating efficiency" during snow and ice removal operations, according to the Tribune.