GPS Navigation Systems were created in the early 1970’s by the U.S. Department of Defense for military purposes. Since then, GPS Systems have come a long way. In the past, GPS systems were expensive and difficult to use. Many people often preferred to use a paper map and hand written driving directions. But now times have changes. Modern vehicle GPS systems are easy to use, very affordable and give accurate turn-by-turn directions to drivers through computerized speech. All consumers have to do is make sure the GPS devices are charged and ready to go.
How does a GPS System work?
GPS technology uses 24 orbiting satellites with very accurate clocks. The timing between your GPS receiver and at least three different satellites allows a distance to be measure. Then by using triangulation and distance mathematics, your location can be determined.
A GPS System can do more than just give directions: As with most technologies, the hardware has gotten smaller and better. Today GPS systems can be installed in a multitude of places. Most cell phones now have a GPS receiver built in, and even there are even GPS watches too. GPS can be used to track wildlife, pets, stolen vehicles, fleet delivery trucks and even your children! Modern GPS systems not only give you turn-by-turn directions, it can also include features such as hands-free calling, MP-3 music, Blue-tooth, 3-D street level mapping, real time traffic reports, touch screens, FM transmitters, fuel pricing and weather reports.
Optimizing your driving route with a vehicle GPS system will not only prevent you from getting lost but it will also reduce your gas expense and reduce your carbon footprint. It may not seem like a lot day to day, but over the course of a year it really adds up. The average U.S. driver using a GPS system with real-time traffic updates is able to cut nearly 4 days off of their annual commute as well as decrease their carbon footprint (vehicle CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions) by over 21%.
Regardless of which state you are in, texting while driving is irresponsible and dangerous, especially for those driving large commercial fleet vehicles such as heavy duty trucks. Less than two weeks ago a very famous and successful plastic surgeon drove off a cliff in Mailbu because he was texting while driving. The accident demonstrates the very real danger of texting or tweeting while driving, an activity that has reportedly spiked in recent years.
“I hear, almost daily, accounts of people who are injured while texting,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Gardner said “It has stopped being an oddity when we hear that someone was texting and has a wreck. Now it’s more of a fairly common occurrence…While sending out a status update during a leisurely drive may seem innocuous, it only takes a moment for distracted drivers to become vulnerable.”
Text messaging has been the primary source of communication between truck drivers, dispatchers and fleet managers for many years. Fleet managers have relied on text messaging to stay in touch with their drivers at all times. When rerouting drivers or changing job priorities or text messaging has been the quickest and cheapest method of communication. In order to comply with recent text messaging laws, many companies have integrated GPS fleet tracking systems. Fleet tracking systems with Garmin integration enable dispatchers to send and receive information through a driver’s GPS system, eliminating the need for text messaging. This helps to keep truck drivers safe and comply with State text messaging laws.
Fuel costs are one of a fleet manager’s largest expenses. Applying the best fleet fuel practices such as idling reduction efficient routing are highly effective approaches to reducing fuel costs. Using a web-based fleet GPS management system, purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles, and relocating a key fueling station are also ways to reduce fuel consumption and employee hours.
Fleet Managers should apply the following basic principles of good fuel management because these are proven to be the most effective approach trimming fuel costs and consumption. Once these “best of” fleet management practices are implemented and consistently executed, innovative solutions can further promote control of one of fleet’s most expensive operational costs. The Best Fleet Fuel Management Principles include:
Industry leading fleet GPS tracking and GPS fleet management company, FieldLogix, has been named by the San Diego Business Journal as one of the Fastest Growing Companies in San Diego – again! The San Diego Business Journal will announce the final ranking of each of the top 100 Fastest Growing Companies during an awards ceremony on on Sept 16th, 2010. FieldLogix is a pioneer in providing a green GPS fleet tracking service for fleets throughout the U.S.
The San Diego Business Journal compiles a list of rapidly growing companies annually and ranks them according to revenue growth over a two year period. In 2009, FieldLogix made the 100 Fastest Growing list due to a 60% increase in revenues from 2007 to 2008. Now in 2010, FieldLogix is being recognized again for its strong revenue growth.
FieldLogix was one of the first to offer the FMI integration between GPS fleet tracking and Garmin driver navigation systems. According to a FieldLogix press release in April, FieldLogix’s Fleet Management Interface (FMI) decision to integrate telematics fleet tracking with Garmin International’s (Nasdaq:GRMN) turn-by-turn in-vehicle navigation has yielded an 830% increase in FieldLogix +NAV YTD Sales from 2009 to 2010. FieldLogix provides GPS fleet tracking systems to companies across the U.S.
The following article discusses how government fleets around the US are successfully managing and reducing fleet fuel expenses. This Part One of a Series of Articles. Next to to depreciation, fuel is the second greatest public sector fleet expense. Municipal, county, and state fleets reveal their best practices in reducing fleet fuel expenses.
Identify underutilized vehicles and equipment with high maintenance costs
The City of San Antonio’s Fleet Management Department reviews fuel requirements and usage, vehicle mileage, and fleet maintenance costs to identify underutilized vehicles and unnecessary equipment with high maintenance costs with fleet tracking telematics equipment. San Antonio’s fleet is comprised of approximately 5,050 vehicles and equipment, mostly sedans (1,500) and specialized equipment (3,000-plus), including refuse trucks, trailers, and off-road equipment. The city has been successful in reducing the size of its fleet and when necessary purchase more fuel efficient fleet vehicles.
“In an effort to further reduce fuel costs and emissions, the City is currently evaluating the introduction of both E-10 (10-percent ethanol) and B-5 (5-percent biodiesel) fuels,” said Florencio Peña, fleet manager, City of San Antonio. “Compressed natural gas (CNG) is used to power 30 of the City’s side-loader refuse trucks, and propane has been used for several years to power both vehicles and equipment.”
Replaced outdated fuel card reader systems with an automated fuel fleet management system
FiedlLogix CEO, Yukon Palmer, will be speaking at the Green Fleet Management Conference on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in Palo Alto, CA put on by Agrion. In his discussion, Yukon Palmer, a green fleet telematics expert, will provide attendees with valuable insights, ideas, and examples to help fleet managers create the most cost-effective and environmentally conscious Green Fleet possible for your company. Telematics is the use of technology to manage fleet vehicles and Mr. Palmer will discuss how it can help make your fleet greener and more efficient.
Mr. Palmer’s speech will reiterate that in light of today’s environmental issues and corporate responsibility expectations, the concept of Green Fleet Management should be important to all fleet managers, whether you have a fleet of one or one thousand. Developing and managing a green fleet requires a thorough knowledge of available products, technologies, and an in-depth cost-benefit analysis, plus much more.
A green fleet of taxi cabs is expected to develop in Salt Lake City.A recently proposed Salt Lake City ordinance will make the city’s Taxi Cab fleets lean, clean and “green.” The taxi cabs will be installed with GPS fleet tracking systems and will follow specific airport and evening schedules. The city has been working to improve its taxi cab fleet management issues for more than five years.
The proposed ordinance will be discussed further in September. The ordinance will place all city taxi vehicles under the authority of the Salt Lake City International Airport. “At any one time, we have 50 taxis that we know of, just sitting at the airport, waiting two, three or four hours for a fare,” says Salt Lake City Council Chair J.T. Martin. “We have enough taxis. We just don’t have them in the right place at the right time.”
Installing a fleet GPS management system is expected to enhance the city’s ability to optimize the city’s taxi cab drivers and vehicles. The city plans to develop green, eco-friendly operating and ADA compliant vehicle standards under the new ordinance. The fleet GPS management system will enable dispatchers to send out the nearest vehicle which will improve customer service, reduce fuel costs and vehicle emissions and ultimately put more money in taxi driver’s pockets.
Many changes are coming this year for the fleet trucking industry. CSA Regulations have already caused a great deal of uncertainty and fear for many fleet operators, but do not fret. Based on our research, the actual impact is expected to be less than the potential and most feared impact. New legislation is always daunting, but the doom-and-gloom scenarios you may have been hearing are really not worth losing sleep over.
In the short term, until it becomes clear what the roadside inspectors are going to do differently, how the scoring systems are going to work, and what the auditors will do if and when they visit – there’s definitely going to be some confusion . This uncertainty puts fleet operators on edge and can make it more difficult to make your next business decision. Because of CSA companies may start to freeze their processes, to pull back from expansion plans, or to delay on hiring new truck drivers. If enough fleet operators take this cautious stance, in the short term, it will produce a real constraint on trucking capacity, which will in turn increase the upward pressure on truck driver pay and freight rates.
When Interwest Construction Inc. wanted to catch the thieves that had stolen one of their trucks before they stripped it, they activated the fleet vehicle’s GPS tracking system and the chase was on. FieldLogix, an industry leading GPS vehicle tracking device and green fleet management system, was successfully utilized to recover the missing fleet vehicle in just a few hours.
According to Kristal Wagner of Interwest Construction, Inc., “We had a truck stolen on Monday during the night. Tuesday morning, when the foreman was panicking & calling the sheriff, I used the the real-time GPS tracking device to pull up the vehicle’s exact location and gave the Sheriff the information. We recovered the truck within a couple of hours. Some small items that weren’t valuable were stolen from the truck, but the vehicle was not harmed at all!”
GPS fleet tracking systems are recommended to all drivers by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to prevent motor vehicle theft. According to NICB, a car is stolen every 26 seconds in America. Nearly half of these are never recovered, and are commonly scrapped for parts or smuggled to another country. NICB’s vehicle protection approach recommends four layers of security based on the risk factors pertaining to a specific vehicle. Vehicle Tracking Systems are one such layer, and are described by the NICB as “very effective” in helping police recover stolen vehicles. Vehicle GPS tracking systems are an important and integrated part of the “layered approach” to protecting fleet vehicles.
Real-time fleet tracking helps HVAC, plumbing and electrical service companies manage overall mobile worker performance, reduce expenses and increase customer satisfaction. Whether you manage a fleet of 5 vans or hundreds of fleet vehicles, GPS fleet tracking solutions can improve your bottom line. If your residential or commercial HVAC company doesn’t have a GPS tracking device, then you may be missing a valuable opportunity.
HVAC Challenges & Controlling Operating Expenses with GPS Tracking:
Lack of accountability for drivers – Having a widespread fleet makes tracking worker location and activity. GPS fleet tracking can make your mobile employees and contractors more accountable. Improving employee performance will not only make your customers more happy but it will make your drivers safe and at less risk of an accident.
High Cost of Fleet Vehicle Maintenance and Insurance – Managing a large group of fleet vehicles has high operational costs for most HVAC and building service contractors. Many HVAC managers have trouble keeping up with vehicle maintenance logs because they have to wait for drivers to manually submit their mileage records. But with a vehicle tracking system, electronic driving records are available 24/7 with just a click of the mouse. A modern GPS fleet management system can also help you to get better resale values when it’s time to sell or trade-in vehicles. Also, installing a fleet tracking device can instantly reduce your company’s insurance premiums and will help to immediately improve your ROI.
The program will have speakers from the Department of Transportation (DOT), NHTSA, John Deere and more.
Here is a list of topics that will be covered at the Fleet Management Show.
America’s HVAC Society (ASHRAE) and the US Energy Dept. Work Together to Enforce State Building Regulation for Energy Efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week announced it is seeking proposals to support activities related to the state adoption and implementation of the most up-to-date building energy codes. As of June 2010, building codes in 14 states do not meet the requirements in current regulations, ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007. Proposals must address activities to implement the target codes, which includes ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standards, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, training activities, or activities that advance each state’s level of compliance with state building codes. States are allowed to partner with consultants and organizations such as ASHRAE, which stands for American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
ASHRAE, the developer of the America’s first standard for energy efficiency in buildings, supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent announcement regarding funding for states to implement the most current energy codes. The call to meet current building codes comes as ASHRAE and IES celebrate the 35th anniversary of publication of Standard 90.1. Since being developed in response to the energy crisis in the 1970s, Standard 90.1 has become the basis for building codes, and the standard for building design and construction throughout the United States.
Currently a total of $5 million is available to be dispersed among up to 20 states (only one award per state). Award sizes will vary state to state and the maximum reward amount is of $250,000.