Edison Township, N.J., has installed telematics devices on all its nearly 400 fleet vehicles.
 - Photo courtesy of Edison Township

Edison Township, N.J., has installed telematics devices on all its nearly 400 fleet vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Edison Township

The Township of Edison, N.J., has been able to reduce its non-public-safety fleet by about 25% by monitoring vehicle use through telematics. Samsara telematics devices are installed on the entire fleet of nearly 400 vehicles, although 146 public safety vehicles were exempted from the utilization study.

Of the 320 non-public-safety vehicles in the fleet, the township has been able to reduce this to 239 vehicles.

 “We look at frequency of use,” said Jim DeVico, technology manager for the township. “If it hasn’t been used in three months, or only 10 times a year,” city officials would consider taking those vehicles away from the user department and reassigning them if they’re still in good condition.

“This last go-around, I had 35 vehicles I just got rid of for lack of use,” DeVico said. Many were from the Code Enforcement division, which periodically buys new vehicles but doesn’t get rid of its older units. And while the fleet grows, the staff size did not. He was able to take about 20 underutilized cars from MY-2015 and 2016 and redistribute them to other departments.

Because DeVico has actual data to prove vehicles aren’t being used, taking them away hasn’t been difficult. And when it comes time to buy new vehicles, the township administrator can also look at the utilization data of existing vehicles to see a fleet addition is justified, DeVico said.

He added that the ability to track vehicle diagnostic information has also been valuable. Drivers don’t like to report vehicle damage or check engine lights, so telematics monitoring allows the Fleet Management division to better keep track of vehicle status and stay on top of preventive maintenance.

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