The City of Asheboro started Mobile311 in 2008 as a way to reduce expenses, especially fuel expenses in the sanitation division.
The City of Asheboro started Mobile311 as a way to reduce expenses and increase efficiency. They started with a focus on reducing fuel expenses in the sanitation division. Prior, sanitation trucks were making pickups at every home two times a week to remove household waste and collect recyclables. Additionally, a pair of brush trucks and a second pair of bulk trash trucks would cruise up and down every street looking for waste items to remove, a process that could take from one to three weeks to complete.
Now, employees picking up household trash and recyclables act as scouts for the others. They are armed with an app on a mobile device so they can mark the GIS location of every bulk waste item, pile of rubble, or any other waste in need of a visit by a collection truck. This lets workers see exactly where they have to go, know what it is they have to collect, and plot the most efficient route (in conjunction with other pickup points). The resultant savings in fuel, vehicle maintenance and labor hours have been significant at 68% cost savings. The reduced labor time involved in this process has freed up employees to work on other things for their department.
Kermit Williamson, their Solid Waste Director, says “With Mobile311 we are saving three man days per week. What used to take us five days we are now doing in two. Mobile311 is paying for itself in fuel savings and we are giving better service to our community with the labor savings.”
The team at Asheboro has found Mobile311 to be helpful for reporting. During the process of cleaning up after a major ice storm, the software came in handy with marking the coordinates of debris piles. Crews simply had to pull up to the debris pile, hit the button in the app to mark the spot, and then snap a picture of it. They then had all of the information needed to submit to FEMA for a reimbursement. They can also use the system to track maintenance on sewer lines and report their numbers to the state agency who needs that report.
David Hutchins, Public Works Director, says, “When we need to know footages or locations or anything like that, we know we have it all. It’s just a matter of getting into the system and pulling the numbers. So take a sewer overflow for instance. You can simply hit a button in Mobile311 and the coordinates and information is captured. We can take a picture and send that along with our report to the state. It’s just so easy to use and we always have the information we need ready to go.”
The breadcrumbs feature has also been helpful for them to use in tracking things like their snow plow routes. Hutchins says, “We have mobile devices in the trucks and we enable the breadcrumbs for things like snow plowing. We can pull up the map, see where they are and how they’re progressing through the route. That way, if we get a request from emergency services that they need to get somewhere quickly, I can see which truck is closer and send them to clear the way.”
The Public Works department also uses Mobile311 to alert various departments to problems they spot in the community as they drive around. For instance, they may use it to tag graffiti to help the Police Department keep track of it. They use it to track broken valve boxes for the Water Department, storm sewer problems, and street sign issues.
Overall, the City has seen an increase in their efficiency and productivity. They have been able to use Mobile311 in a variety of areas to help their department run more smoothly. Hutchins says, “Mobile311 is quick to learn and easy to use. It’s a flexible system so you can use it for a lot of different things.”