Fighting The Snow With A Fleet Management Solution in the Cloud (Case Study)

February 02, 2016
5 min read

For city winter services, speed and efficiency are crucial when snow plowing an entire city. A more advanced planning system is necessary so the fleet management solution for managing snow plow trucks is a requirement!
We bring you an example of how to make city snow plowing more efficient with simple online GIS-based software, featuring a story coming from the City of Zagreb.
The City of Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. The climate of Zagreb is moderate continental with hot summers and cold winters, and during the winter season, snowfall causes various traffic difficulties. That’s why it was necessary for the City of Zagreb to get a solution for effective management of their snow plow truck fleet.

The Unique Daily Snow Plowing Challenges

The City of Zagreb wanted to replace an outdated fleet management workflow that was slowing the decision-making process during snow emergencies. They didn’t have a real-time overview of the situation on the streets and the cleaning progress. The decision-making process was complicated by the fact that the city officials needed to manage multiple subcontractors from one account. 
These challenges have an impact on finances, scheduling, safety measures, liability concerns and overall decision making. Snow removal just cannot wait!
If snow starts to accumulate, it becomes a safety hazard to clients and the public, and often numerous facilities need to close off from the public because they cannot risk people getting hurt.
The city wanted to have full control of vehicles and their expenses on a daily basis. This data should be available on a map accessible by multiple users, both in the office and in the field, using different devices.
Considering the fact that mapping data consists of larger datasets and contains a lot of information, the challenge was to have a fast solution with optimal loading speed. The City of Zagreb needed to make their snow emergency response faster, better and more efficient.
At the same time, they wanted to improve their daily workflow and reporting process and be able to create custom reports with accurate data updated in real time.

Fleet Winter Management Solution in the Cloud

In need of a more ‘up to date’ approach, the City of Zagreb adopted and deployed GIS Cloud solution for their winter fleet management. Online GIS turned out to be a necessity for the successful coordination between multiple users and contractors on multiple devices in real time. Also, online GIS helped improve their decision and reaction time with a much faster and efficient workflow. Winter services were able to track and monitor the progress of snow removal process simultaneously making decisions on-site in real time.
Integration between Map Editor including Fleet and Workforce Management apps was required and achieved to manage the already existing city-data.
The GIS Cloud mapping tool Map Editor enabled editing, labelling and publishing of the existing data, as well as managing and classifying the data in corresponding folders.
The idea was to divide a given area (City of Zagreb) into multiple tasks, where each task represents a group of streets. Their mapping effort would then be connected to the GIS Cloud Fleet and Workforce Management solution, giving each unit their assigned task.

Fleet and Workforce Management app also enables an overview of vehicle consumption. This way the City of Zagreb has full control over managing different types of expenditure (i.e. salt and other means for defrosting). This enables cost assessments for the future, giving them information on what can be reduced and for which subcontractor in particular.
Real-time coordination between drivers and dispatchers was achieved, having an overview of driver’s locations at any time. This real-time solution enabled a faster response time and more effective decision making in critical situations. With customization options, set of various reports could be made like mileage, fuel consumption, speed limitation etc.
As a novelty, a system for early ice detection was incorporated, where multiple sensors are tracking different criteria like air and pavement temperature, humidity etc. Once a given threshold is crossed, this integrated system in Fleet and Workforce Management app will notify the dispatcher, giving him the necessary information for effective decision making.  This was important because we all know that icy roads are the number one cause of accidents during the wintertime.

Effects and Results of Efficient Snow Plowing

GIS Cloud Fleet and Workforce Management Solution were ideal for the City of Zagreb, as it accelerated the outdated workflow by using and customizing existing GIS Cloud applications. Real-time vehicle tracking was enabled with fast and responsive maps and by making the decision process inter-operable. With decreased response time, severe winter conditions became much more manageable.
To sum it up, these were the results:

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