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Rochester City Council approves new tracking system for snow plows and city vehicles

Posted at: 01/22/2013 10:18 PM
Updated at: 01/22/2013 11:23 PM
By: Lynette Adams

The City of Rochester is making plans for a new tracking system that could improve the efficiency of snow plows and other city vehicles. The Rochester City Council approved the money to pay for it.

The new system is state of the art and will pay for itself in about two years, but News10NBC wondered if along with tracking equipment, the city may start tracking workers.

The Rochester City Council gave unanimous approval for the system. The city will spend $960,000 to install a new system in city vehicles known as the automated vehicle locator/weather sensor intelligent transportation system.

Referred to as AVL/ITS, it is a sophisticated tracking system that will allow the city to track and locate every city vehicle at any given time.

Loretta Scott, Rochester City Council member, said, “We'll be able to tell when trucks are idling too long. We'll be able to tell the multiple times they have to go to a route to check for bulk garbage for an example.”

Rochester City Council member Loretta Scott says the system will have a temperature gauge so when it's too warm, trucks will throw out sand rather than salt. She says that it will save the city thousands. It also will allow dispatchers to send the closest truck when there is a request for services.

It's all done through a system like a GPS, that will first be installed in the trucks used by environmental services and later in police and fire vehicles.

News10NBC's Lynette Adams asked, “Does this now mean you're going to be tracking employees, making sure that they are working when they are suppose to be working, using the city's money wisely.”

Scott said, “That actually isn't the primary benefit or the primary rationale for the AVL. It's more about the effective utilization of resources on the equipment itself.”

News10NBC asked the same question to Rochester City Council member Carolee Conklin.

Carolee Conklin, City Council member, said, “Almost anything you want can be used against somebody, that's not the intent and the purpose. Will it happen at some point in time? Perhaps, but the main goal is effective deployment of resources, materials and people.”

Both City Council members agree. This is about saving the environment and money.

Conklin said, “We're facing severe budget shortfalls. Anyway we can look at cost savings, efficiencies or better deployment of people is going to save taxpayers money.”

While this system will cost the city almost $1 million, because this program would ease congestion and help to improve air quality, Rochester would be in line for a reimbursement of $676,000 from the Federal Highway Administration.