Photo courtesy of Verizon Networkfleet.

Photo courtesy of Verizon Networkfleet.

Caltrans has begun rolling out a $2.5 million telematics system on its fleet of 7,500 sedans, trucks, snowplows and portable signs in an effort to reduce fuel use and protect against theft, an agency spokesman told the Sacramento Bee.

Caltrans plans to finish outfitting its vast fleet with GPS devices provided by Verizon Networkfleet by the end of the month along with a data-reporting service that will cost another $1.5 million annually.

The units will also help Caltrans dispatch its statewide fleet and improve overall fleet asset management practices to boost responsiveness, drive efficiency, and reduce costs, according to Verizon. The fleet management solution enables Caltrans to automate its manual usage reports (called Cartags) used by department employees. The automation of employee usage reports alone will yield estimated annual savings of 28,000 salary hours, or nearly $500,000, according to Caltrans.

Caltrans tested the telematics system during a pilot project between July 2012 and April, by equipping 200 vehicles with the Verizon GPS units. Caltrans maintains 50,000 miles of California roadways with an $11 billion annual budget.