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01Jul2015

State Adds GPS to Reduce Cost

 

Wyoming: As an initiative for reducing fuel costs and emission, Wyoming is considering to add GPS trackers to about 1,600 state-owned vehicles.

Most of the states motor vehicles will be installed with GPS by the end of this summer, confirmed state's Department of Administration and Information.

To impart real-time information to state agencies about the location as well as the mechanical condition of the vehicles, Verizon Networkfleet GPS equipment uses a secure cellular link. The system shows the speed of state employees while driving, how long the vehicle is kept idle and how efficiently the vehicle is used.

In order to run the program, it will cost about $244,800 as upfront fees and $363,000 as annual operating charges. The state's self-insurance program will be funding the program.

With better driving and reduced fuel costs, the state expects to save between $360,000 and $720,000 per year.  Drivers will find shorter routes with GPS.

Tim Thorson, policy, planning coordinator for the Department of Administration and Information said that last year, vehicles equipped with the GPS devices showed a pilot program and the fuel consumption was at about 40 percent less.

Thorson added that the system will help in better management of its large vehicle fleet across the state, helping in long-term cost savings.

"This system is focused on helping us find the right size for the state's fleet based on how often the vehicles are used," he said.

Employees changing flat tires by themselves will be replaced with the new program. With Verizon's Roadside Assistance Program, GPS equipped vehicle will be receiving free roadside assistance.

Thorson said that the monitoring is done by government agencies and private business and it is called telematics. According to the report of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, cost savings can be done with the new technology.

“The experts and federal fleet managers GAO consulted agreed that the use of telematics can facilitate cost savings for some fleets by providing fleet managers with information – such as data on vehicle location, speed or condition – that they can use to reduce fleet size, fuel use, misuse of vehicles and unnecessary maintenance," the report states.

Dean Fausset, director of the Department of Administration and Information said that it’s up to the organization to determine how to use the information.

"Agencies have been and will continue to be responsible for the driving behavior of their employees – this system will not change that," he said in a statement. "It will provide a new level of insight into how agencies use their fleet vehicles and what changes we can make to improve our service and efficiency for these agencies."

Thorson confirmed that the system is not used as a spy against people or their behavior. But it’s equally important for state employees to use it properly.

"Managing employee driving has been an area of interest for any public employer, whether it's state, local or federal," he said. "(State employees) understand they are using a public asset, and it's the driver's responsibility to use it well."

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