Smart City Innovations

Smart City Innovations

Smart City Technology is All Around Us

Smart City Technology is surfacing all over the United States.  To most of us, “smart city” is a broad term used to describe how technology will make things better in the future, but it is hard to come up with a quick example of how technology actually makes a city smarter.

Smart 50 Awards in partnership with Smart Cities Connect honors the 50 most transformative smart projects each year.  Among 2020 award recipients are several projects that rely upon GPS tracking and telematics.  With that in mind, we have picked three of the 50 award winning projects to share with and inspire our readers.  The official summaries of those winning projects follow.

San Jose Smart City

Smart City San Jose, CA

Emergency Response Times Improved

San José transformed traditional emergency vehicle preemption through a multi-domain solution— expanding Central Traffic Management, integrating real-time CAD, and connecting vehicle presence. The results: response times fell by 24 seconds per trip benefiting life and safety; reduced accidents for first responders; and over $1.5 million in higher reimbursements.

After failing to meet mandated response times, the City of San José sought methods to improve response times. Traditional means to improve response times was through the further deployment of emergency vehicle preemption hardware to allow emergency vehicles faster passage to their destinations. In late 2016, emergency vehicle preemption equipment had been deployed at approximately one-third (or 336) of the city’s signalized intersections. Because this system required hardware installation at each intersection signal, system expansion and ongoing maintenance was too costly– at a rate of approximately 15 intersections per year, and an average cost of $15,000 per intersection and total cost of $9 million.

The City of San José made the decision to take a new approach to providing emergency vehicle preemption that leverages existing infrastructure and software systems already in use and eliminating the need for costly new hardware installation and maintenance. Creating a solution that is geo-aware, route in advance, real-time, and fast to deploy protects the lives and safety of residents, protects first responders from high in-transit accident rates, and provides the City with significantly higher revenue in the form of reimbursements.

Response times fell by 24 seconds per trip, preserving life and safety for residents Pre-cleared intersections reduce accidents for first responders in transit -Meeting response thresholds enables over $1.5 million in higher reimbursements from County partners -Solution saves the community 90% of the cost of traditional emergency preemption.

Pittsburgh Smart City

Smart City Pittsburgh, PA

Trash Collection Improvements

Sensors embedded within Pittsburgh’s trash receptacles measure the fill level of each container and transmit that information to the people responsible for servicing them. Waste collection process is made more efficient by only picking up containers above a certain fill level (e.g. 80%), saving money, time, and reducing environmental impact.
The project improves the efficiency of the waste collection process by measuring and reporting the fill level of every container, and then dispatching the collectors to only the containers which actually require collection. Pittsburgh sought to remove inefficiency within their trash pickup operation while reducing their carbon footprint and promoting costs savings. With the Relay system, they were able to maintain an accurate inventory of the locations and fill levels of more than 1,300 smart containers throughout the city.

The data gave them confidence in the decision to consolidate all of their containers into a centralized litter division, and also to reduce the staff responsible solely for picking up trash from 25 crew members down to 9. The 16 additional staff members have time to work on other tasks, which had been de-prioritized with the focus on trash collection. By picking up only the containers reaching 75% or 90% full, the city is saving money on truck drivers, laborers, fuel costs, equipment costs, and depreciation costs from the reduced wear and tear on collection trucks. Drastically cutting the amount of time these trucks are on the road also dramatically reduces the city’s environmental impact.

Streets are cleaner (less litter), containers are no longer overflowing, heavy diesel trucks are taken off the road (reducing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic delays to nearby drivers), taxpayer dollars are not going towards unnecessary trash collection, deferred public works responsibilities can have freed-up resources refocused on them.
Washington DC Smart City

Smart City Washington DC

Public Transit Improvements

Luminator Technology Group (Luminator) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) partnered to install digital displays across the metro area to provide passenger information, including real-time arrival and departure times. The agency improved rider information and gained operational efficiencies through centrally managed updates.
In an effort to further connect the Washington D.C. metro area to real-time information, this implementation across the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) service area resulted in increased and improved access to key route information, with WMATA seamlessly updating displays and real-time data from a single location. By eliminating the need to manually update paper signs, the project brought mutual benefits to riders and the agency. Riders have access to real-time information incorporating any delays or closures, meanwhile, WMATA has decreased labor costs associated with manual changes of paper signage. With Luminator’s involvement in WMATA’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the transit agency is able to provide information that increases the intelligence and efficiency of the solution, making stations brighter and easier-to-navigate. Luminator is also increasing efficiency throughout the system enabling future expansion.
WMATA currently has 400 of Luminator’s digital passenger information systems installed across its service area and will add another 400 over the next five years. With Luminator’s support, WMATA is improving and advancing these displays to meet the needs of approximately 120 million annual bus riders.

Congratulations to the Smart 50 Award Winners.

We congratulate all of the winners and look forward to participating with our City and County Government clients to welcome the future with Smart City initiatives.  To learn more about the Smart 50 Awards visit
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Green Fleet Dashboard to Visualize Your Changing Environmental Impact

Green Fleet Dashboard – Free Marketplace Add In

The Green Fleet Dashboard is one of Geotab’s latest innovations.  It is a free add in available from the Geotab Marketplace.  Have you seen it yet?

This add in displays a fleet’s efforts to reduce their environmental impact.   It helps fleet managers to visualize their progress with improving fuel economy and reducing emissions. The dashboard provides key metrics on fuel useage and driving behaviors, that provide quick insight into how well your fleet is performing, and flags opportunities for improvement.

Green Fleet Dashboard

Green Fleet Dashboard Features

  • Monitor your fleet’s monthly and yearly average fuel economy
  • Track monthly and yearly emissions
  • Track key performance indicators related to fuel efficient driver behavior, including:
    • idling time
    • speed
    • harsh acceleration and braking
  • Highlight best and worst performers
  • Compare your fleet’s performance with fleet industry benchmarks
The Green Fleet Dashboard add in provides you with exceptional visual information.  The graphics are easy to digest and keep you focused on achieving your green fleet goals. What a great tool to stay focused on reducing your environmental impact!

Below are some examples of the charts and graphs the Green Fleet Dashboard delivers.

Installing the Green Fleet Dashboard

To install the add in, simply log into your Geotab account and select “Marketplace” at the bottom of the main menu.  Once in the Marketplace, begin typing “green fleet” into the search bar until you see the Add In listed.  Click on the add in logo, then click install on the next page.  Once installed, you will see the new dashboard in your Geotab menu.  Easy as 1-2-3!

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Green Fleet Dashboard Installed
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Usage Based Insurance, Powered by Telematics

What is Usage Based Insurance?

Usage Based Insurance, or UBI, is defined by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners as “a type of auto insurance that tracks mileage and driving behaviors”.  They further explain that the “basic idea of UBI is that a driver’s behavior is monitored directly while the person drives, allowing insurers to more closely align driving behaviors with premium rates.”

How UBI Works

Underwriters can now consider factors that formerly were not available.  Total miles driven, time of day, geographic location, and road type all speak to driving conditions and insurance liability.  Speed, rapid acceleration, hard braking, and hard cornering are behaviors known to directly impact accident risk.  Obviously actual automobile usage is a more accurate method to assess risk than the actuarial methods in use.  Actuarial methods aggregate accident risk based on age, gender, marital status, credit score, and driving history.  Consequently UBI is a much fairer way to assign risk and set insurance premiums.

In response, telematics vendors are developing more tools to evaluate at risk driving.  For example, the free Verisk Data Exchange add-in was recently introduced to the Geotab Marketplace.  It is a platform that allows both customers and their insurers to access the same smart analytics that impact insurance premiums.

Usage Based Insurance App

Telematics is the Key to UBI

Advanced telematics is what makes Usage Based Insurance possible.  Over the years, telematics providers and their partners have proven the value of telematics data.  The information at our fingertips identifies risky driving behaviors.  More important, we can use it to improve and correct them with driver training. In contrast, not acting on the information we have increases liability. But that is easily corrected as shown in the video below.  Clearly the benefits that make companies more efficient and competitive outweigh any concerns over increased liability. Usage Based Insurance rates are another potential cost savings to add to that return on investment.

Usage Based Insurance Drives Driver Improvement

Improving driver behavior based on telematics data is easy to automate.  Apps like Predictive Coach do all of the heavy lifting.  There are also traditional courses like the National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course.  A combination of ongoing and individually targeted training raises driver safety awareness and creates a culture of safety.  Doing that will more than pay for itself in the long run, not to mention reducing your company liability.  Proactive training increases the opportunity to reduce insurance premiums with new and innovative insurance plans like Usage Based Insurance.  Ultimately the incentive to improve driving behavior for lower insurance rates will drive the success of initiatives like Vision Zero, making the roads safer for us all.

What the Future Holds

In conclusion, Transport Topics recently stated “Rising insurance premiums are a perennial stress for many motor carriers, many of which are now installing telematics systems with the latest safety technologies to mitigate cost increases. This is a positive trend for the trucking industry, and more carriers should fully embrace these technologies as they soon will become necessary to operate a safe, efficient and, ultimately, more profitable trucking fleet.”

We agree and are here to help you get the technology in place, and use it to create positive change.
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Vision Zero and How Telematics Can Help You Get There

Vision Zero and Telematics

Contributed by Kim Thoman

In this segment we will discuss Vision Zero and how sophisticated and affordable telematics solutions can help you reach your goals. First it is important to understand what Vision Zero means and how it works.

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990’s, Vision Zero has proved successful across Europe. It was officially introduced in North America 1995 and is quickly being adopted across many cities in the United States. Among these cities are Seattle, NYC, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston and many more. Even closer to home Orlando, Tampa and Hillsborough are implementing Vision Zero goals.

Where to Start

The question is what tools are needed analyze the data involved with traffic fatalities. Information that is important to study is traffic patterns, traffic light coordination and timing, occurrence of collisions and the ability to highlight hazardous intersections to name a few. NYC’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), for example, adopted telematics to encourage safe driver behavior in its very large municipal fleet. In an effort to make change DCAS uses collision reporting data to better understand the occurrence of collisions. This allows them to better modify safety training, evaluate roadway conditions and assess the efficiency of street improvements and projects for all road users. Another benefit of telematics for DCAS is the reduction of costly lawsuits and process that consume valuable resources.

Vision Zero Results

NYC’s Department of Transportation (DOT) also implemented the same telematics solution in the agency’s 35,000 fleet vehicles to analyze the speed within the fleet and the quality of pavement. “In NYC, telematics has contributed to a reduction in fatalities – two in 2018 compared to eight in 2014 as employees engage in safer driving behavior.”

We live in an era of “Big Data”. Telematics can optimize “smart transportation”. Aggregate data allows cities to closely monitor traffic flows, understand the effects of new projects and speed reduction programs as well as assess the efficiency of traffic signals, map air quality and highlight hazardous intersections. These are all tools to better manage the city’s transportation system as a whole.

Vision Zero

More Benefits With Less Effort

By combining air quality sensors with telematics solutions, city vehicles have the ability to measure air pollution without changing their regular routes, according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Air pollution data is collected by stationary air quality monitors placed miles apart. This has been proven not to be the best solution as studies have shown that air pollution levels can vary greatly from one block to another.

By installing mobile monitors on fleet vehicles could allow a city to cover more ground. “According to the report, a fleet in a small or medium North American city could map 50% or more of the city with 10 vehicles, and almost 80% of the city with 20 vehicles. In Washington, D.C., where only five stationary air pollution monitors are installed throughout the city, the top 20 public vehicles covered nearly 70% of the city in six months”.

The Future of Vision Zero and Telematics

“Vision Zero is not a slogan, not a tagline, not even just a program. It is a fundamentally different way to approach traffic safety.” That being said, implementing a successfully proven telematics solution is an invaluable tool to help cities across North American reach these powerful safety goals.

Contact Fleetistics today for a consultation.

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Social Distance With High Productivity

Social Distancing, the New Normal

Businesses should always put any slow time encountered to good use.  This is even more important  as social distancing becomes our temporary reality.  Today, restaurants are limited to delivery and pick up.  Retail businesses limit the number of people that can be gathered at once.  As a result, businesses that serve those sectors can find themselves with some time to invest.

What are some things you can do now that will help you come back even stronger when this is all over? It’s a great time to research technologies of interest that you just have not had time  or reason to take a serious look at before.

Assessing Current Operations, a Good Place to Start

Did you know that Fleetistics assesses routes?  Our Route Optimization Assessment Tool analyzes your routes as they are being driven now, and evaluates the impact that an optimized route of the same stops has. The report considers routes as driven compared to the same order of stops optimized for the shortest distance, and finally, re-ordered for the most efficient order of stops and shortest distance. Ultimately this data is charted to evaluate miles, time, and fuel usage. There is even an interactive chart and map that allows you to dig into the individual route details.

Efficient routing and scheduling is a major difference between companies that just do OK and companies that thrive. Without hard data, many managers just don’t realize how much routes impact profitability.  Money is left on the table when routes are left up to the driver or best guessed using brainpower alone. Even more, small changes in a route that may seem insignificant can save significant amounts of fuel and man-hours.

Route Optimization Tool



In the example above for just one vehicle, $24 was saved in one day. Add to that, 30 minutes of labor cost or time to complete another job, and you can see this adds up to some significant dollars even in a small fleet. Call 855-300-0527 to schedule a route optimization assessment for your fleet today!

Expand Work From Home Capabilities

Maintaining social distance is forcing many companies to embrace telecommuting.  Working remotely is not a new idea. Many companies are well prepared to leave their offices and telecommute. Sure, there are some challenges, but we are adaptable.

If you are a Windows 10 user working from home, learn to use the task view icon on the taskbar. It is a good substitute for having multiple monitors. If you don’t have windows 10, try holding the windows key and pressing tab to get to task view. It displays all your open windows on one screen so you can navigate between them faster.

Need help getting setup to work remotely?  Our IT company, IGTech365 can help you implement Microsoft Office 365 with Teams. Work anywhere, at any time, from a smart phone, laptop or desktop. Being seamlessly mobile is a strategic requirement to be able to always assist your customers.

Implementing Change in the Mobile Workforce

Mobile forms apps quickly generate custom forms.  They work hand in hand with your fleet GPS Tracking bringing vehicle location and form data together.  These easy to use forms apps are a great tool to remind field workers of all the new steps they must take to stay safe.  Also, steps are recorded as completed creating a clear record and chain of custody.  Most important, electronic forms are easily modified as safety guidance changes.Electronic Forms

Used this way, mobile forms apps assure adherence to social distance protocols and evolving procedures needed to adhere to today’s guidelines.  Certainly processes will remain in a state of change, so being able to adapt quickly is critical.

Look for New Opportunity

Certainly there is good news we can focus on.  As a business operating a fleet, remember fuel cost is down, delivery and the need for more of it is up, and road traffic is low.  What assets and skills do you have available that can be put to work in our new temporary environment?  We hear amazing stories of companies re-purposing their products and vehicles to do what is most needed now.

  • Restaurant suppliers shifted to supplying grocery stores when their shelves were empty.
  • Auto makers are building respirators.
  • Clothing companies are producing face masks and gowns.
  • Commercial delivery fleets are assisting in moving emergency supplies to hospitals.

The more we focus on the positives, the stronger we will all come out of this.

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