Renfrewshire Council has employed hi-tech satellite monitoring on its road gritting fleet to map routes and track vehicle activities. The web-based Masternaut system ensures Renfrewshire’s 800 km road network is treated properly and provides the Council with vital time and location records of all gritting activities.
With Masternaut, the Council’s highways team gets a real-time view of gritting operations. The system records precisely where the gritters have been, the times when the equipment was in operation and the rate, density and spread of grit used to treat each road.
"Masternaut enables us to geofence the gritting routes and these are mapped digitally and displayed on screen to show the vehicles in action. The activity reports provide accurate records so that we have a robust computerised paper trail for each vehicle and its driver and each route throughout the winter," says Bill Baldock, Works Manager, Renfrewshire Council.
This detailed information not only helps with optimising gritting treatment and vehicle utilisation it also provides accurate evidence for contesting public liability claims against the Council for damage supposedly caused by gritting operations. It also assists road traffic incidents investigations as the system clearly shows the location and operation of all gritting vehicles with the fleet; the Council can prove whether the road had been treated before or after the incident.
Renfrewshire also uses the system to deal with gritting complaints. The Council can either send the nearest available gritter to the scene or create a complaints list and deploy a dedicated vehicle to treat each road as necessary. This further optimises gritting resources and helps customer service.
"The system closes our information loop," adds Bill Baldock. "We can show exactly how we responded to weather warnings and prove that we took action."
Renfrewshire uses a fleet of Volvo Econ Unibody gritters. Each vehicle is equipped with a Masternaut Driver ID Key that links the driver to the vehicle, so that there is no dispute over who was operating which vehicle. The vehicles are also fitted with panic buttons for lone worker safety; drivers are working remotely and at all times of the day and night to help combat the snow and ice to keep Renfrewshire’s highways as clear and passable as possible.
Masternaut is also fitted to the Council’s gulley cleaners. These vehicles are equipped with Vehicle Data Terminals so that drivers can record gulley details, condition and whether or not they were able to clean it. This paperless system is instant and has eliminated unnecessary administration.
Renfrewshire will eventually install vehicle tracking and Masternaut’s GreenerFleet environmental management tool across the rest of its fleet; from light vans to large trucks.
"We want to improve utilisation of all our vehicles and remove surplus where possible. The system will allow us to monitor and manage fuel usage, unnecessary engine idling, and driving behaviour. We’ll be able to use the information to develop driver training programmes and prioritise training schedules according to need," ends David Burnie, Transport Manager, Renfrewshire Council.