A pilot program that turned Montgomery sanitation trucks into mobile information centers was successful enough that the city has signed a three-year, nearly $750,000 deal with the company behind the technology.
Rubicon will equip more than 60 city vehicles with a mobile app, a plug-in device and a web portal. City sanitation crews have used the tech for six months to track their routes in real time and log any problems with trash collection. It also allows them to note potholes, high grass, housing code issues and more along their routes, then pass that info along to the right city department.
The city said the three-year contract will allow its Fleet Management Department to track data on vehicle usage and maintenance needs in real time.
“We saw ourselves as co-innovators with Rubicon,” Montgomery City Services Director Chris Conway said in a release announcing the contract. “Once we saw the success in managing our routes and fleet performance, we began testing new ways the application could save time, staff resources and money while better serving residents.”
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said the tech will save money for the city overall because of efficiencies in maintenance and the need for fewer truck routes. “We will recoup that (contract) cost many times over very shortly,” Strange said.
The city said it has already saved tens of thousands of dollars in maintenance costs during the pilot program.
Rubicon runs similar programs in 35 cities, including Atlanta, Santa Fe, N.M., and Spokane, Wash. The software was being used by a higher percentage of employees in Montgomery than in any other city, said Michael Allegretti, Rubicon’s chief strategy officer. He said the tech will continue to improve over the next few years.
“We’re not bolting things into vehicles. These aren’t big computers that are going to sit static for a three-year period,” Allegretti said. “We want city government to be able to enjoy the same pace of innovation that the private sector enjoys.”