City of Atlantic City saves in many ways


Changing A Culture of How Public Works Operates

Earlier this year, Paul Jerkins, the City of Atlantic City, N.J., Director of Public Works, personally oversaw the installation of the Navman Global Positioning System (GPS) on 40 of its fleet.  In the two months the system has been in place Jerkins reports, “We are already changing a culture in public works that has been in place for many years—the whole culture of how a city’s public works department is designed to operate and how it achieves efficiency within its different divisions.”

 

Among the first noticeable “culture changes” referenced the State of New Jersey’s idle law. Under the state’s Clean Air Act, a car or truck is permitted to idle for three minutes. “Before the system, our trucks—primarily those in our Boardwalk Department—have  typically been left idling for two, three, and up to four hours a day. Since we installed this GPS system our vehicles, monitoring results show that an average idle time has been reduced to as low as 5 minutes—10 at the most,” Public Works Director Jerkins reports. Not only is the department within the law, the results reflect savings in gas dollars. “We have not yet had the chance to pair up the gas savings specific to idling, because we are monitoring the total for other aspects, but I can assure you that we are saving money while adhering to state law.”

 

“It’s 11:30. Do You Know Where Your Trash Truck Is?”

 The recent GPS installation has also effected a change in the department’s trash truck travels. Jerkins, now in his third year as Atlantic City’s Public Works director, reports that a typical routine was for the trash trucks to begin their various routes at 5 am, complete their pickups around 9:30 that morning, then they would dump their loads in our designated place outside the city and return to the shop about one in the afternoon. “That indicated that the trucks were either parked or driving around local neighborhoods. Now our drivers have their routes completed and are back parked in our city yard by 11 a.m.” Jerkins reports. “Not only does this save taxpayer dollars in gas because the drives around the city have been curtailed but it has stopped--not sharply curtailed but stopped the resident complaints about our vehicles being parked where they should not be parked.”

 

                                   Clean Water Act Compliance

 

As part of New Jersey’s Storm Water Act, the Atlantic City Public Works Department is now required to keep track of how many streets or road miles the department cleans annually. “Prior to this GPS system we really had no way to track that,” Jerkins says. “Now that the system has been installed, we actually track where our sweepers are, how many miles per day are cleaned, and at the same time we have proof that these motor broom sweepers are cleaning areas they are supposed to clean.”

 

Lacking a prior system that could accurately track such categories as catch basin and inlet cleanouts created a flaw in the monitoring requirements. “If someone forgot to write a note or failed to track a mile exactly, there was problem,” Jerkins said.

 

Even though the Atlantic City Public Works Department has only had the Navman GPS system for a relatively short time, “the change has been dramatic in that time,” Director Jerkins reports. “For one thing, people are aware of where they are supposed to be,” he says with a chuckle. 

 

 

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