Woodbury County Battles Winter With GPS Tracking
With the transition of fall to winter comes cold weather. Not just cold weather but in some locations sleet, ice and snow, all things that can create hurdles when it comes to transportation. When heavy winter storms drop large amounts of snow, county officials and road management crews are left with the task of clearing roadways so people can travel to and from work. The efficiency of these road management crews varies in different states, counties and cities. Unfortunately, Woodbury County has been described by many as one of the places that struggles in clearing gravel roads after snow storms, but officials are hoping that will all change with a new fleet management plan that will result in GPS tracking devices being equipped to all county motor vehicles.
Sioux City and other locations throughout Woodbury County made the decision to acquire approximately 50 GPS vehicle trackers to monitor county vehicles overseeing roughly 1,400 miles after numerous complaints about roads not being cleared of snow during winter storms. A county official speaking about the new fleet tracking devices explained that the GPS units will provide a way to verify routes of snow plows in real-time along with historical driving activity. This way if/when a person contacts the county and says their roads haven’t been graded all week officials will have the ability to review driving logs to see where all snow plow resources have been used. This is done by the GPS tracker recording and time stamping all travel information.
Residents living in rural parts of the community will also be able to receive more accurate information on what time snow plows will be in their particular area. Although most of the complaints in the county revolved around snow plow activity, garbage trucks, trailers, sign trucks and other motor graders will also be outfitted with GPS tracker devices, according to the Secondary Roads Department.
County officials are excited about the new program because it will improve response times, record keeping, auto protection and help connect fleet managers with crews working in the field. For example, if a driver for some reason finds themselves stuck due to some form of automotive mechanical failure a fleet manager can quickly determine which other driver is closest in proximity to that stranded driver. This will allow help to arrive in the shortest time possible, something that can be life-saving in a true emergency situation.
This new real-time GPS fleet tracking system had an initial cost of $16,000 and will require the county to fork over roughly $1,500 in monthly service obligations because the real-time devices transmit information over cellular towers. A spokesperson for Woodbury county explained that satellite guided tracking technology is the wave of the future and that numerous other counties throughout Iowa are also looking at implementing such a system. Although Woodbury county has just now made the commitment to using real-time GPS trackers, the idea had been discussed frequently.
Sage is a freelance writer with a background in information technology.