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Archive for Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lawrence to purchase GPS system for trash trucks and other city vehicles

A city public works sand truck travels east on 19th Street on Tuesday morning, spreading sand on intersections during a light sleet.

A city public works sand truck travels east on 19th Street on Tuesday morning, spreading sand on intersections during a light sleet.

December 28, 2010

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The hands-on work of collecting trash, plowing streets and plugging broken waterlines is about to get a high-tech assist.

Beginning next month, new GPS units will be installed on dozens of trucks and other pieces of equipment owned and operated by the city of Lawrence for basic municipal services: collecting and disposing of solid waste, repairing and clearing public streets, and replacing and unplugging the separate pipes that carry water and sewage.

The intent: Work faster, plan better and, perhaps, spend less doing it.

“We’re using technology to better, more efficiently deploy our resources,” said David Corliss, city manager. “That’s increasingly important when we have limited resources.”

Lawrence city commissioners voted Tuesday to spend $50,199 on the system for 2011. The total includes buying actual GPS units — 35 for trash trucks, 32 for utilities vehicles and 26 for street division trucks and equipment — and a year’s worth of monitoring service through Networkfleet Inc., based in San Diego.

The units will allow supervisors to monitor the precise locations, speeds and, in some cases, even activities of GPS-equipped vehicles and equipment. The street division’s dump trucks, for example, will have special “diagnostic” units that will sense when a snowplow is scraping ice or snow from a road surface, and when a spreader is spraying salt and sand to improve traction.

At some point, the city may make such information available to anyone with Internet access, said Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works.

“You get up in the morning, see there’s 15 inches of snow, and you’re wondering how you’ll get to work,” Soules said. “You can open this and see which roads we’ve been on and which ones we haven’t been on.”

The units will begin arriving in January, with installation expected to be complete in the spring, he said.

Other benefits of the system, Soules said:

Efficiency. Supervisors will be able to track trash trucks as they make their daily rounds, to see where routes could be adjusted to save time and fuel — and exactly which truck would be closest to anyone calling in a “missed” collection.

Accountability. Supervisors hearing reports of a city truck barreling through a residential area will be able to check the claim within moments, simply by looking at a truck’s data on a computer screen.

Businesses with fleets large and small already use such technology to improve efficiency and service, Soules said, and it makes sense to extend such capabilities to appropriate municipal motor pools.

“We’re dealing with public money,” Soules said. “We have to be accountable.”

Comments

Starlight 3 years, 3 months ago

http://www.lawrenceks.org/web_based_agendas/2010/12-28-10/12-28-10h/gps_recommendation_solid_waste.pdf

If you had bothered to read this link Stedman has already posted in this thread you'd find a lot of answers to your wayward ass'sumptions. The cost over the first two year period is less than $30K. The units cost $195 each. The system integrates with many systems the City already has.

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JackMcKee 3 years, 3 months ago

I'd also like to know if the GPS units can be used with another service provider, or is the city of Lawrence going to be stuck with this company.

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JackMcKee 3 years, 3 months ago

It costs $50,000 for the units. Here are some questions that a good journalist should also have put in the story.

  1. How much is the monthly service fee
  2. What percentage of time does the city estimate is wasted by loafing employees
  3. What is the cost to the city of loafing employees
  4. What is the cost for each GPS unit

That way, the readers can discern the actual value of this project.

Because this information is not listed in the story I have to assume. I assume the answer to #1 is quite a bit more than you would think because I doubt this California business makes much money flying out to cities to install a couple of GPS units. I assume the answer to #2 and #3 are something the city hasn't really thought about beyond the sales pitch of the company, so I seriously doubt if the city put a whole lot of thought into this scheme.

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IndusRiver 3 years, 3 months ago

“We’re dealing with public money,” Soules said. “We have to be accountable.”

Oh! Of course. The only problem is that you City geniuses haven't figured out how you were going to go about developing a plan for accountability.

At least not yet, and most certainly not for less than a hundred grand when your illustrious Board approves it. .

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IndusRiver 3 years, 3 months ago

“We’re using technology to better, more efficiently deploy our resources,” said David Corliss, city manager. “That’s increasingly important when we have limited resources.”


Resolution X8: Approve 2007 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to City of Lawrence in the Amount of $83,659.12. The LDCHA’s annual payment in lieu of taxes for 2007 is in the amount of $83,659.12. As a tax-exempt organization, the housing authority makes an annual payment to the City in exchange for public services and facilities furnished from time-to-time by the City. The amount of the PILOT is set by federal regulation and is equal to 10% of the housing authority’s rental income minus the utility costs paid by the housing authority. Rental income for 2007 was $1,116,289. Utility expenses were $279,698.67. Rent minus utilities equals $836,591.23. Ten percent, $83,659.12 is the 2007 PILOT payment to the City. If the LDCHA was a taxable entity the amount of property taxes would be $157,500.55. Commissioner Clark moved to approve the 2007 PILOT payment to the City. [SOURCE: MINUTES OF THE 2008 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE LAWRENCE-DOUGLAS COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS April 28, 2008]

Call your buddies, Clique Corliss.

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IndusRiver 3 years, 3 months ago

With all of the dirty money in the pockets of Lawrnce City officials why don't they foot the bill? That way when they decide they own it they will have paid for it, too.

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storm 3 years, 3 months ago

Fix the headline. It's not GPS System. The S in GPS represents system already. And remember a Pin code is not a Pin number nor is a vin code on a car a vin number. Responsible journalism, please.

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been_there 3 years, 3 months ago

No more using city vehicles to take your kids to and from school. Always wonder about the insurance liability on that.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 3 months ago

"other" city vehicles or ALL city vehicles? just curious. this is the beginning of employee dissatisfaction, it is coming.The bean counters at city hall will find that productivity will not increase but instead lead to the hiring of more employees that will happen!

Using GPs for city trash trucks and routes is a bit different than using GPS for UPS.

Will the GPS be attached to the workers inside city hall?

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Starlight 3 years, 3 months ago

What a great application of technology. The efficiencies and accountability answer the concerns of everyone here but you all blindly rant and whine anyway! What a bargain for a system that will allow supervisors to know where their resources are and what they are doing in real time(+/- 2 min). Not only that it allows for reading engine data through OBDII and works in tandem with the system used by the Central Maintenance Garage introducing even more options for saving money. For those who didn't take the time to read the info Stedman linked to, five companies systems were tried and this one's was the most reasonable cost and will integrate with many systems the City already has in operation.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 3 months ago

you're welcome Dillan.
if used properly, I think this tech has the potential to pay for itself and then some.


lol: "officer, it was a big, slow, stinky garbage truck with city of lawrence all over it. the joy riding teen was speeding at 35mph going ... that'a way! she had a stogie hanging from her lip, two rose tattoos on her arms, sleeves rolled up, ... hope you can catch her!"

"sorry sir, she'll just melt right in with lawrence's traffic. there's no hope in trying to catch this one even if we had our own chopper!"

[imagine on Cops?]

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none2 3 years, 3 months ago

If the accountability for city employees is such a big deal, then it sounds like the city should get out of this business. Hire private companies to take care of it all. If those private companies wish to spend money on such luxuries, let them do it at their own expense.

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whats_going_on 3 years, 3 months ago

OR, perhaps the city should buy more sand and salt and come up with better plans if/when we get another big storm like last year......

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foxfire 3 years, 3 months ago

Why are we spending money to get the sanitation employees off work sooner than they get off now? Remember the report that showed several employees don't work 40 hour workweeks now but still get 40 hours of pay? I just don't get it!

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 3 months ago

Core-less is hired and managed by the city "commission". The "commission" is responsible for his performance audit. The city mangler directs the actions of the city "commission". The city "commsiion" dances to the tune that the city mangler calls. Does anyone with a shred of common sense see how this arrangement results in this sort of crap??

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 3 months ago

Core-less is hired and managed by the city "commission". The "commission" is responsible for his performance audit. The city mangler directs the actions of the city "commission". The city "commsiion" dances to the tune that the city mangler calls. Does anyone with a shred of common sense see how this arrangement results in this sort of crap??

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Kontum1972 3 years, 3 months ago

did u take into account that sanitary plastic bags will be require to prevent trash goo from mucking up the GPS units...

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BruceWayne 3 years, 3 months ago

"The units will allow supervisors to monitor the precise locations, speeds and, in some cases, even activities of GPS-equipped vehicles and equipment. "

And who will be watching the supervisors? How long are we going to let Core-Less piss away our money?

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pace 3 years, 3 months ago

I think this is smart. It is one of the many tools modern freight movers use for their fleet. Also in a disaster it can make a difference. Sadly if someone steals a garbage truck for a quick get away we can nab them before they disappear in the traffic.

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GardenMomma 3 years, 3 months ago

So what happens to all these GPS devices on the trash trucks when the city decides to outsource the trash pick up service?

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 3 months ago

Dillan, this tech for fleet monitoring has been around for quite some time. and ref your comment about monitoring and updating is jst moot anymore. much happens by simple programming--it's automated and very very fast. plus the provider does a lot of the updating remotely as a part of the contract. so likely wouldn't need anybody employed here to be an "updater."

another benefit of this system: safety, emergency situatios. yes I know we're not talking about lpd/ldcfm. howevr in event of natural disaster/man-caused event you can just look at the board and you know immediately where your people and resources are to direct them.


Big Brother will be watching you guys soon. Better not stop for donuts.

---well now, locations of donut food stuffs providers are certainly very very high on the priority list for clearing, right?

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DillonBarnes 3 years, 3 months ago

I think the city could have set up a website for snow removal, but just leave it up to the citizens. People sign in, the system saves their house location, and they can mark street condition or whether the streets have been bladed or salted. Not perfect, but multiple reports can reduce the chance of reading a false report. Heck, make an app for phones to use their GPS location to pick a selection (Impassable, bladed, salted).

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aldo 3 years, 3 months ago

Throw money, City of Lawrence. Hire another out of towner. Way to go ... sure glad we raised sales tax and parking meter fees to buy this kind of stuff plus to pay for those mighty fine new vehicles the meter readers get to ride around in now.

What ever happened to building a rainy day fund with extra revenue or LOWERING sales taxes if we have so much extra money to throw around ?

Next time they talk about the NEXT " one cent " tax hike, maybe voters will think differently. "One cent" sounded so insignificant didn't it ? Call it what it really is: 1 % = $1.00 per $100, $10.00 per $1000 ... How about an extra $ 400 on that new $ 40,000 car ?

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Aiko 3 years, 3 months ago

Why did they not go with a company that was started in the LRTC bubble?

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cheeseburger 3 years, 3 months ago

Seems to me the issue of municipality vs. private trash service hasn't been decided, and yet we go out and equip the trash trucks with expensive technology. I thought the horse came before the cart, but in Lawrence, the cart seemingly comes before the horse most of the time!

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 3 months ago

Yet more evidence of our incompetant, spineless, clueless, gutless, useless yard sign city commissioners who dance to the tune of our unelected, unacountable coreless "city mangler".

A total waste of public money, a totally irresponsible action against the taxpayers, a total exposition of why our city government is completey broken, busted, dysfunctional, disassociated with reality and totally unconcerned with the true needs of the city and the public.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 3 months ago

Why then if the city is to work efficiently, cannot the city perform the "citizen survey" and use staff? One can assume that there is not any staff member adept at creating and implementing a survey. Therefore, reduce staff. $29,000 more dollars down the drain again on another survey.

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Kirk Larson 3 years, 3 months ago

This kind of tech helps you use computers to optimize your activities. Look at farmers. They use GPS in combines and tractors now to great benefit and they're just going up and down a field.

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gudpoynt 3 years, 3 months ago

I was skeptical about the cost of the devices, but knowing that "a year’s worth of monitoring service through Networkfleet Inc." is included in that price makes more sense. In fact, that might be a better deal than I expected. Software as a service is not cheap, especially with specialized systems such as fleet monitoring.

It would have been nice to have supported Garmin (relatively local) and their affiliates for a fleet monitoring product. I wonder if the city sent them an RFP and if so, how the bids compared.

Investigative challenge: Somebody with more time than me please find the bid for this contract, http://www.lawrenceks.org/finance/bid_results/. If there was no bid, then how was the deal made?

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kernal 3 years, 3 months ago

My first thought was, "What! Can't they read maps?" But when I thought it over, it makes good sense. Why should we pay a supervisor to spend the day tailing the minions around town, wasting gas and causing wear and tear on the supvervisors city owned cars? Also, this should help emergency response time for LPD and Fire/Med teams for new streets, which won't show up on maps for ten to fifteen months and those mystery streets that are less than a block long and tucked away.

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1029 3 years, 3 months ago

Well, this helps explain why I saw a City of Lawrence garbage truck blocking traffic trying to do a u-turn on 56 near Overbrook about a month ago.

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psycho_theclown 3 years, 3 months ago

One of the things Giuliani did right in NYC was to demand accountability. He cleaned house in the police department and other city depts. by having them report in their location every hour and through other measures (this was before GPS was widely used). They followed up and many that lied lost their jobs. Many officers were charged with walking minimum distances, even if they had been assigned cars. These measures increased the effectiveness of these services to a degree that was noticeable to the public. Accountability is a positive thing. The good employees won't notice any difference and they'll appreciate that their lessor counterparts carry their weight.

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Danimal 3 years, 3 months ago

Do we have this capability yet on emergency vehicles? It would seem like that should be a priority so dispatchers can more effectively route emergency services vehicles. I'm not opposed to putting it on public utility vehicles, but I'm not convinced yet that it's worth the cost.

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macon47 3 years, 3 months ago

What a wase of our money. yes tax payers money whats gonna happen to the supervisor that drives around checking on the workers ? guess he will loose his job

i agrre what does the guy in the white pick up that follows the trash trucks supposed to do? make sure they guys on the trash trucks dont take anything or what that is a waste of resources

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compmd 3 years, 3 months ago

Which city commissioner has a friend at NetworkFleet? Rather than supporting local economy by going with one of the dozens of MRM integrators and providers that uses locally developed and supported products from Garmin, the city chose to blow their money in California.

“We’re dealing with public money,” Soules said. “We have to be accountable.”

How about keeping that public money in Kansas?

Good job screwing over your own people once again, commissioners.

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clovis_sangrail 3 years, 3 months ago

This is excellent. When this technology is in place, when it snows, I will be able to look on line and find out the plows are all out plowing west Lawrence golf course streets, instead of having to bundle up and drive out there and look for myself like I did last December..

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mae 3 years, 3 months ago

BOOM ON DVE.

really, someone needs to look at the guys that arrive too early for your alarm clock.

so so sorry that you get up an hr or so after them.

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Matthew Del Vecchio 3 years, 3 months ago

The knee-jerk complaining on these comment boards never ceases to amaze me. The public sector is decades behind the private sector in regards to using technology to increase efficiency. This is a good move.

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LogicMan 3 years, 3 months ago

Big Brother will be watching you guys soon. Better not stop for donuts.

If they take all the fun away, no one will want one of these recession-proof jobs.

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mae 3 years, 3 months ago

It's pretty hard to find your way going 1/2 mile an hr. I know the boss doesn't wan't to leave the office b also, but still, it's his job to check on the minions.

really. really? we pay these people?

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 3 months ago

I call BS. I was a supervisor in transportation for years and I know how frustrating it is when your drivers "disappear" on you......we did it the old-fashioned way: tail them for a few hours. This article is politically correct, I'll hand it that.

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Randall Barnes 3 years, 3 months ago

What a wase of our money. yes tax payers money whats gonna happen to the supervisor that drives around checking on the workers ? guess he will loose his job ?

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geekin_topekan 3 years, 3 months ago

Eularian graph and a pencil would be much cheaper.

Total cost:100 hrs and a $7 box of pencils. No eraser necessary, I don't make mustakes.

Oh, and lunches for two weeks.

Total cost to the city: $1307.00

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 3 months ago

"Car 54" By: "Ned Hiken"

There's a holdup in the Bronx, Brooklyn's broken out in fights, There's a traffic jam in Harlem That's backed up to Jackson Heights. There's a Scout troop short a child, Khrushchev's due at Idelwyld, CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU?

[note, this is from a very old tv series]

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DillonBarnes 3 years, 3 months ago

How likely do you think that "snow plow update" system will ever work? I foresee many "technical difficulties" that will make the system slow, costly, and inefficient. Sounds great in theory, but I can't see it happening.

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