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Holmes County Highway Department Relies on MOTOTRBO™ GPS to Improve Road Crew Safety
March 29 2011

Located in central Ohio, Holmes County’s nearly 40,000 residents include the nation’s largest Amish and Mennonite community. Horse-drawn buggies and motorized vehicles share the county’s 250 miles of roads and 271 bridges spread throughout 424 square miles of terrain spotted with rolling hills, steep ravines, and waterways. Keeping those roads and bridges in good condition during the summer and and clear of snow during Ohio’s often challenging winters is the responsibility of the Holmes County Highway Department.

When Chris Young, Holmes County Engineer, was elected to the position in 2003, one of his first priorities was to replace and update the county’s two-way radio communications system. The aging analog radios were nearing end of life and coverage was not always reliable. Young wanted better technology that would improve the safety and efficiency of his crew, as well as reduce costs for the department.

“A few years ago, we had a bad snowstorm,” Young recalls. “The crew was out plowing and at some point, one of our drivers got into trouble. He had flipped the truck and we weren’t sure where he was. If he hadn’t found his radio to report in, or even worse if he had been knocked unconscious, the situation could have been very bad.”

Young contacted Motorola to discuss options for developing a digital communications system that would improve worker safety through location tracking for all of the Highway Department’s 35 vehicles that included trucks, backhoes, graders, loaders, and cranes. However, because no general funds, sales tax, or property tax revenues are used for road and bridge maintenance in Holmes County, Young was also looking for a very cost-effective solution.

The local Motorola Channel Partner proposed MOTOTRBO digital radios with built-in GPS capability. Not only would the digital radios provide better coverage and clarity, the location tracking function would be able to monitor the trucks and report back, up to every second if necessary, where each truck was at all times. The GPS-equipped portable and mobile radios can be configured to transmit the coordinates of Holmes County vehicles at pre-programmed intervals from several minutes to virtual real-time intervals of one second. Monitoring of fleet movement is clearly displayed on a high resolution, color coded map showing each truck’s location.

“It was a great solution because we’d be able to watch the trucks and in the event of an accident, we’d know exactly where they were and could get someone out there quickly,” Young says.

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