Baltimore wires fleet management

A new fleet management system that monitors vehicles in the field will enable

Baltimore to more efficiently clear and treat roads during winter storms,

city officials say.

The Department of Public Works hired Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Transportation

Management Systems last month to provide automatic vehicle location systems

for more than 500 trucks during the next two to three years.

Motorola Corp. will provide two-way voice and data radios that link the

vehicles to a central operations center. Installation for the first 75 vehicles

will cost about $1 million, said Robert Marsili, chief of the city's transportation

maintenance division.

Orbital's Orbtrac-100 combines Global Positioning System satellite technology

and computer-aided dispatching software to enable supervisors to direct

snowplows where they are most needed and identify sections of roads that

have been serviced.

"To our knowledge, it's the largest automatic vehicle location application

for public works vehicles in any U.S. city," said Kevin Canney, director

of Orbtrac-100 programs for Orbital TMS.

Baltimore also is expected to outfit street sweepers, water maintenance

vehicles and other road maintenance vehicles with customized versions of

the system, Canney said.

The Orbital system also collects data such as road temperature and when

and how much salt and de-icing chemicals are being applied. It then transmits

that data to headquarters, along with location coordinates. Managers can

see on their computer screens a map showing exactly what each of their crews

is doing.

If a customer complains that their street wasn't plowed, that can be confirmed

immediately, said Dave Mathison, Orbital TMS vice president and general

manager.

Information captured by the system can help officials plan how to distribute

resources for future storms, Mathison said.

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