Where’s my plow? Use Geotab Citizen Insights to share fleet information publicly
Published on June 16, 2023
In the aftermath of a winter storm, you might wonder when your street will be cleared. Will it be in an hour, several hours or maybe even days? Cities and communities often map their service routes by priority with main arteries being cleared first. But this isn’t super helpful when you’re trying to get to work or need to catch a plane. What if you could check where your plow is online rather than calling 311/511? Thanks to Geotab Citizen Insights, this thought is now a possibility.
What is Citizen Insights?
Launched by Geotab in 2021, Citizen Insights is a public-facing map solution for government users to share fleet location information with their constituents. Citizen Insights is a MyGeotab add-in that can be embedded on the government’s public-facing website. This allows the public to view the location and availability of road operational fleet vehicles. Citizen Insights can include snowplows, salt trucks, waste management vehicles and street sweepers to name a few. As a result, citizens can make safer and more informed decisions by knowing which roads to avoid or when they’ll be serviced.
A sample public-facing Citizen Insights map
Why use Geotab Citizen Insights?
Telematics solutions in government agencies are on the rise across North America. Coupling telematics with Citizen Insights provides transparency between the public and public works departments.
Implementing a public-facing website, such as Citizen Insights, can provide many benefits for communities, including:
- Increased trust
- Maintain control
- Reduce inquiries
- Deliver it your way
The use of public-facing websites can also reduce incoming calls and emails from curious or concerned citizens. This can free up the phone lines for more urgent phone calls and eliminate inefficiencies. With Citizen Insights, the public can appreciate the open communication between them and their local government while building trust at the same time.
Enabling Citizen Insights is easy
Citizen Insights is a turnkey solution! Organizations looking to implement Citizen Insights don’t require coding knowledge or IT support. Citizen Insights works through the user’s Geotab GO device and MyGeotab database.
Download the Citizen Insights Add-In from the Geotab Marketplace to set up, publish and update your public site on-demand. Once enabled, a unique URL is generated that can be embedded on your community’s website. Now citizens have an easy way to find up-to-date information when needed.
Who can use Citizens Insights?
Citizen Insights can be used by any Geotab client who wishes to share fleet information externally. You can be subscribed to any Geotab rate plan, however, there is an additional cost relative to your community’s population. In a lot of cases, the additional expense more than pays for itself by alleviating phone calls to 311.
Citizen Insights is mostly used by winter operation fleets for tracking snow removal and material spreading. In other instances, municipalities share waste collection routes so citizens can see when/if their garbage has been picked up. The solution can also be adapted for street sweepers and leaf collection. Geotab’s Citizen Insights can share fleet info with your constituents whatever the public works service.
Customizing your Citizen Insights map
As a Geotab client, you have access to lots of information about your fleet. Location, engine health, odometer, driver assignments, maintenance schedules, vehicle types, zones and the list goes on. While you need to have all this information, the public doesn’t. With Citizen Insights, you get to pick and choose the information that’s shared publicly. If you only want to show operating vehicles and hide parked vehicles, you can. There’s also a minimum delay of 15 minutes when displaying vehicle locations which are important for driver safety. As a Geotab database administrator, you have the power to decide which information is most valuable to share.
Here are just some of the items you can customize with Citizen Insights:
- Groups/types of vehicles
- Zones (geofencing – only show certain areas of the community)
- Operating versus parked vehicles
- Service categories (snow removal, sidewalks, waste collection…etc.)
- Location delay (minimum of 15 mins)
- Colour-coded routes (primary, secondary roads)
- Colour-coded service status (green=service complete)
- Integrate your Twitter account
Learn more: Geotab Citizen Insights User Guide
Citizen Insights Customization Options
I’m interested! How do I get started with Citizen Insights?
If you’re ready to take the next step and move forward with a public-facing solution, contact Northern BI today. We’ve helped Canadian municipalities successfully launch Geotab Citizen Insights on their public websites. Public Works fleet management doesn’t have to be complicated. Our team is ready to help you navigate the world of Citizens Insights and government fleets! Contact us today!