Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Technology that allows the Town of Oakville to pinpoint the exact location of its buses, public works vehicles and fire trucks in real-time is resulting in significant service improvements for residents according to a staff presentation made to Council on June 26, 2017.
Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVL) are devices that work with GPS (Global Positioning System) and a wireless radio system to transmit information about a vehicle’s current location. It’s a powerful tool that helps the town manage fleets of vehicles and ensure that service levels are being met.
“In today’s digitally-driven world, municipal governments have to constantly evolve to continue providing high-quality services to our residents,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “AVL technology is helping the town provide citizens with on-demand information, tools and services they can easily access from their mobile devices.”
For Oakville Transit customers, AVL technology allows them to track their bus in real-time from their computer or mobile phone so they can know exactly when it will arrive at their stop. Digital signs onboard buses and automated voice announcements advising customers of next stop information are also features made possible by this technology.
The Roads and Works department is also using AVL technology to provide better communication to residents about snow clearing. Residents can now track the progress of plows in real-time as they clear roads by using the PlowOakville online tool. Staff also use the technology to accurately monitor and track the amount of salt their trucks distribute on the roads.
AVL and GPS technology are not only making town services more accessible and convenient for residents, these tools are also helping the Oakville Fire Department cut down response times and get to the scene of an emergency sooner. When a fire crew is dispatched on a call, they can now access the call information from a computer tablet within the fire truck.
“In an emergency situation every second counts and this technology gives our crews the most accurate, up-to-date mapping information available so they can respond as quickly as possible,” said Fire Chief Brian Durdin.
The town is continuing to invest in new technology and innovative solutions to serve the community more efficiently and effectively. Other initiatives currently underway include a new pay by phone mobile app for municipal parking lots, and a mobile-friendly update to oakville.ca coming later this month.