ALLEN COUNTY, IN - The Allen County commissioners plan to renew efforts to test GPS trackers in county cars, more than a year after announcing similar plans, according to The Journal Gazette.  

The commissioners sent a letter to all department heads and elected officials asking for volunteers to use the trackers in county-fleet vehicles. They hope the trackers can reduce fuel consumption.

They also ordered purchasing director Bill Greer to study whether using the trackers makes sense for the county and what type should be used. A committee of county employees will help collect and analyze the test results, evaluate GPS products and make a recommendation to the commissioners, spokesman Mike Green said.

Although gasoline prices are relatively low today, there’s no assurance prices will stay that way. Reducing travel and fuel use is the best way to keep costs down, Green said.

In 2008, the county spent $2.1 million on fuel and other petroleum products compared with $1.7 million in 2007.

Committee members haven’t been chosen, and it’s unclear how many fleet vehicles would be involved in the test, which will likely last several months. The potential cost for the project is unknown, but the commissioners agreed to pay for it, Green said.

Studying the use of GPS trackers is something the commissioners have wanted to do for some time, Green said.

In 2007, the County Council set aside $500,000 to pay for GPS trackers. The commissioners announced that year that they would install trackers in six vehicles for a two-month trial.

Although the devices were installed, no data were ever collected before Bruce Little retired as purchasing director. This study will likely be longer and include a broader range of technologies, Green said.

Little’s effort stemmed from changes to the county’s vehicle policy, which further restricted who is eligible to drive county take-home cars and required cars be marked with the county emblem. The commissioners approved those changes in May 2007.