Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) for fleet management is a smart addition to an asset management portfolio, and today’s technology makes it extremely cost effective and justifiable.  AVL allows agencies to track and manage vehicles resulting in better performance and lower overall fleet costs.

By creating better, more efficient routes, AVL saves fuel, time, and vehicle wear.  It provides credible and measurable cost savings.  Better managed, maintenance is able to provide more accurate mileage and driving pattern data.  Optimizing payload and routes uses fewer materials (salt, sand, magchloride) in vehicles such as sprayers, snowplows, and sweepers.  These, along with aiding legal and administrative requirements such as insurance costs, emissions and vehicle performance compliance, and operator accountability and safety, all add up to considerable savings.

The City of Fort Collins, Colorado, is a Cityworks client using CompassCom AVL.  The City measures fuel usage and chemicals used in spreader controllers, tracks snowplow fleet efficiency, and monitors driver behavior.

“We use AVL to manage our fleet productivity,” said Scott Bowman, Database Administrator, Fort Collins Public Works Department.  “For example, how many miles our street sweepers complete each day, and which streets exactly, allows us to check and see what has been done in any section of the city through playbacks of the data.  There are times when people call in saying their road was missed or an accident happened.  With historic tracking data in our AVL, we can easily verify exactly what we’ve done or not done.”

Bowman said the program paid for itself quickly.  “We discovered, by looking through the data, that if snow gets packed down, it costs much more in chemicals, fuel, and manpower to clear a street.  It was much more cost efficient to hire contract drivers early in a snowstorm before the snow gets a chance to get packed down.  We’ve saved untold amounts in claims and potential litigation in dealing with complaints that one of our vehicles damaged private property.  We can easily check and see whether our vehicles were actually there when the damage allegedly occurred.”

Recently, CompassCom and Cityworks began development of a plug-in for Cityworks Server AMS 2011 enabling a live, interactive view allowing fleet management to observe resources throughout the enterprise.  Using the plug-in, managers can monitor public works, emergency response, or utility vehicles in real-time, noting vehicle status easily, seamlessly, and directly within the Cityworks viewer.

Using a combination of technology, hardware and software, AVL is an economically feasible solution to control costs and manage resources through real-time, accurate monitoring of every vehicle.  To learn more about AVL, visit

By LeeAnn Fleming, Director of Marketing, CompassCom

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