How Technology is Elevating Public Works to New Levels of Efficiency

Public works operations like servicing manholes can be improved with operations technologies.
Image: Pixabay

Municipal public works departments can improve operations, citizen engagement and asset management with software and technology solutions that enhance people performance and decision-making.

Citizens are expecting the same quality experiences from government agencies as they have been accustomed to from private sector businesses, such as instant access to information and immediate responses to requests. Compounding these challenges, is the fact that municipal budgets are tightening.

To keep up with rising citizen expectations, more and more public works departments are harnessing the power of innovative technology solutions as a means to help improve operational efficiency. By investing in the right technology, a public works department can improve the effectiveness of decision-making, while ensuring government resources are being utilized to their full potential.

Easier Asset Management

By utilizing GIS technology, agencies can track where maintenance vehicles are at all times. There’s no need for supervisors to leave the office to check up on staff. In today’s world, to see if a crew is on schedule one would simply need to access their route and location through real-time GIS data. Changes to a scheduled work order can be updated as required, updating routes in real-time for the benefit of field staff and supervisor.

Access to Information

Writing tickets to vacant lots in violation of a code can typically prove difficult, as trying to confirm the correct address can be an inefficient use of a civic employee’s time. However, with a mobile solution that provides field staff with the latitude and longitude of the vacant lot’s location, they can simply provide that information to the central hub to easily have a staff member look-up and accurately confirm address information.

Citizen Empowerment

Public works departments are enabling citizens to act as extra eyes and ears when it comes to identifying and reporting issues like potholes, graffiti, litter or broken equipment in their communities. Mobile apps allow for agencies and citizens to work together, as local residents can instantly notify their governments of any issues simply through the use of a mobile app.

Departmental Information Sharing

Technology solutions can break down information silos and help public works departments collaborate and share information more easily with other agencies. Gone are the days of having to source information in hard copy file cabinets, government employees can view paperwork simply by being added as a user to a software solution that allows for collaboration, process approval and joint reporting.

Effective Decision-Making

Through the use of data analytic tools, agencies are now able to provide their staff with a great deal of data that prior to the use of technology would have been almost impossible to capture so efficiently. By knowing the facts of a situation, civic employees now have the confidence to put appropriate policies and procedures in place to make their governments run more efficiently.

For example, smart technologies that provide data on the change in vehicular traffic of a specific intersection throughout various times of the day, capturing and reporting on this type of information allows for officials to adjust the pattern and timing of lights to help ensure the most efficient flow of traffic is maintained.

Job Enablement, Not Replacement

The negative consequences of budget reductions can be drastically reduced through effective utilization of modern technologies. In fact, many advancements in technology for departments like public works help those agencies save money while improving efficiencies.

Technology is not to be confused as a culprit in eliminating jobs within public works departments, it’s simply being used as a tool to help employees, managers and directors make their jobs easier to perform, allowing them to continue to meet citizen expectations even with budgets being clawed back.

Learn more about technology in government operations:

Tech Speak 101 for Local Government Digital Projects

 

About the author

Derek Porter

Derek Porter

Derek is a freelance writer, columnist and blogger. He is passionate about technology, and works with public sector customers on digital transformation programs.