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GPS tracks vehicles in Babylon

Citing a need to improve response times during emergencies such as major snowstorms, Babylon in US has begun to track its fleet of town vehicles with GPS. The technology allows minute-by-minute monitoring: Town agencies can pinpoint a vehicle’s exact street location and the speed it is traveling, or how long it has been parked. Cell phones equipped with global positioning systems developed by TeleNav were mounted last month onto the dashboards of more than 200 town vehicles, including snowplows and highway vehicles, and public safety cars. The devices will not be used to make telephone calls for now, but eventually will allow drivers to call in accidents or routine street maintenance problems, such as downed trees. Town officials said they hoped the technology would increase worker efficiency – for example, in a snowstorm, officials would know which areas snowplows had cleared and be able to direct them quickly to unplowed sites. The system, which costs about $61,000 a year, also will be used to monitor subcontractors for the town and will be added to more town vehicles later this year. Babylon is probably the first municipality on Long Island to adopt widespread use of GPS tracking.