The last few years have seen the City of Calgary roll out innovative solutions to optimize its fleet management while reducing its environmental impact. And people are starting to take note. We sat down with the city’s Director of Fleet Services, Sharon Fleming, to talk sustainable strategy and forward thinking projects.
What is your role as the City of Calgary’s Director of Fleet Services?
I oversee a team of over 200 staff who ensure our 1000+ heavy trucks, 1600+ light vehicles, and 1300+ motorized equipment are safe, cost effective, available and environmentally conscious. Fleet Services enable the delivery of city services such as waste and recycling pick-up, road maintenance, water services, etc., through the life cycle management of vehicles, equipment and components. This includes the acquisition, maintenance and disposal of these assets. It also includes engineering, manufacturing and safety governance support.
My role as Director is to provide strategic oversight and direction for the effective management of the city’s fleet. The most interesting part of my job is the ability to keep the City of Calgary moving by exploring new, innovative approaches and solutions.
What are some of the practices and technologies that the City of Calgary has implemented to reduce its fleet’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?
The City of Calgary’s fleet is responsible for 20% of the city’s total GHG emissions. As part of our commitment to the city’s Climate Resilience Strategy, we are continuously evaluating current market offerings, as well as future technology, including electric vehicles. We are in particular looking at options that will sustain operations in Calgary’s extreme weather conditions. Working with our customer business units to review their fleet specific operational requirements, we are also identifying opportunities to right-size vehicles, relinquish or share units with low utilization, and encourage the purchase of units that support the City of Calgary’s environmental commitments.
The City of Calgary plans to invest in a SMART Fleet program. What are the intended purposes, and what does it entail?
Our SMART Fleet program establishes a plan for improving green and safe driving practices for operators, a car share program to help increase fleet utilization, and other improvements to better leverage the fleet’s work management system and improve data quality and reliability. The program has three main projects:
- Flex Fleet is a project aimed to improve fleet utilization by implementing a specialized car share solution. This would be a pilot project for 10-25 vehicles by 2020.
- The e-Fleet project will build on existing capabilities of M5 software to improve efficiencies and reduce manual, paper-based processes within maintenance operations.
- The Safe Fleet project will look for innovative ways to improve the fleet’s environmental performance, safe driving and data integrity by implementing a governance model and optimizing existing technology.
Earlier this year, the City of Calgary received a Future Fleet Award for most innovative fleet management strategy at the London Future Fleet Forum. What was this recognition for and what does it mean for the city?
The Future Fleet Awards recognize the achievements of local authorities, public sector contractors and individuals in the fields of safety, innovation and sustainability in fleet management. The City of Calgary won the most innovative fleet management strategy award for our patented asphalt carrier and recycler built on a standardized multi-purpose vehicle platform, developed entirely in house. It is projected to save millions in capital and operating costs while diverting tonnes of asphalt waste from landfill.
We’re honoured to have received this recognition, which validates our team’s multi-year efforts to achieve efficiencies through innovation and reduce operational costs. By licensing this design, we hope many other municipalities are able to benefit as well.
What new strategies does the City of Calgary wish to explore in the upcoming years in its continuous effort toward a greener fleet?
We are conducting an alternate fuel evaluation and a pilot project with waste and recycling heavy vehicles to test other fuel possibilities such as compressed natural gas and electric. We will review the outcomes of the fuel source evaluation project this year, with the hope of running the pilot in 2020. Also, we are currently reviewing our anti-idling policy and are evaluating methods and processes to improve monitoring and reporting to curb the behavior of unnecessary idling.
Finally, we are working on the development of new prototypes. So stay tuned as more exciting projects will be forthcoming.