The City of Fort Collins, Colorado, purchased Cityworks in 2004. Cityworks was first deployed and utilized in the Streets & Traffic Department for the management of traffic signs and signals, traffic control, pavement management, road construction and repair, snow removal, sweeping, and neighborhood traffic mitigation. In 2009, the Natural Areas (parks and trails) and Engineering Departments also implemented Cityworks.
Fort Collins has realized many benefits from Cityworks as a direct result of its GIS-centric nature and mapping capabilities. Cityworks provides some major aspects of ROI, saving them time and money, improving project tracking and completion, and scheduling work. The ability to track costs and work accomplishment has been key to the City’s ROI by improving workflows and efficiency. From time tracking to reporting, these benefits are resulting in cost savings and a significant ROI.
Cityworks has significantly contributed to saving the City a substantial amount of money over the last five years. One of the more visible examples is with street patching in the Streets & Traffic Department. In 2010, street patching costs are a dollar less per ton than they were in 2009 and nearly ten dollars less per ton than in 2008. While these numbers may not sound significant at first, savings of just a few dollars per ton add up quickly when the City patches between 8000 and 12,000 tons a year – a very significant savings when compared to costs in 2008.
Cityworks’ ability to track units of work accomplished and costs associated with the work has been very powerful for the City. Fort Collins tracks cost and accomplishments for everything they can record, including cost of patching per ton, snowplowing per mile, sweeping per mile, filling a pothole, and so on. The ability to track these activity costs is very useful in analyzing changes in work production practices. The City is now aware of the money they are spending and how they can find ways to save in other areas. In addition, Cityworks provides them a tool to compare costs with private contractors ensuring they are working as efficiently as possible.
“Prior to Cityworks, we knew that we were not recovering all of our costs of materials, equipment, and time,” explains Sandy Aragon, Financial Coordinator at Fort Collins. “With Cityworks, we now have a system that allows us to charge down to the bolts – therefore recovering all of our costs. We have seen an increase in revenue and are better able to track inventory and costs. We are also able to provide itemized invoices to our customers. And now that we have good history, we can accurately prepare estimates for our customers which helps them in budgeting for their projects.”
The City has also seen time and cost savings from Cityworks’ reporting capabilities. The Streets & Traffic Department is required to report their work completed for the year to City management. Utilizing Cityworks and Crystal Reports, they are able to compile the information quickly and accurately in very detailed annual reports. The time to gather this information with Cityworks is much less than it used to be. Even the ease of reporting saves the City working dollars by utilizing the software to quickly and efficiently perform a task that would have otherwise been time-consuming and complicated.
In addition, the City also tracks all employee hours in Cityworks. Using an automated transfer into their PeopleSoft accounting system, employees save time by only having to enter their time once. The information is shared between the systems through an interface. With Cityworks, Fort Collins is able to accurately account for all employee work activities.
Improved Project Completion
Crew leaders use Cityworks to streamline operations, schedule projects, and manage crews more efficiently. Improved management of projects and the time invested in them results in savings for the City as they are able to more efficiently schedule, complete, and manage their work.
Scheduling projects is much more organized and clear-cut. For example, a signal construction project has many phases. With Cityworks, one work order is created for the project and tasks are used to track the phases of construction. Supervisors and crew leaders assign work and monitor the progress of projects while holding staff accountable for their assignments.
Field crews interact with work orders daily while on the job through Cityworks DataPump. PDAs are utilized to dispatch service requests and work orders. Cityworks Storeroom is used to track and order materials for signs and signals, and inspections are used for the signal preventive maintenance program.
The Streets Department uses Cityworks in many different ways. Utilizing the GIS-centric abilities of Cityworks, mapping service requests for potholes has made it much easier for the pothole crew to schedule work and create routes. Service request maps are used for street sweeping along with AVL (Automated Vehicle Location) to analyze response time and ensure requests have been completed. The City more fully understands how much time is required to complete a request and how they can improve response time, saving them time and money as workflow becomes more efficient.
Fort Collins has all their signs, signals, and pavement markings in the GIS which is helpful in setting up scheduled maintenance and replacement. Recent changes to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires the City to replace many street signs including street names, warnings, and regulatory signs. Aragon explains, “Cityworks has been a great tool in getting the sign replacement accomplished in the time allotted by the MUTCD. We were able to identify all the signs that need to be replaced, map and set up work schedules for the crews, determine and order the materials needed, and track the progress.”
In early 2010, Fort Collins had a major problem with ice buildup on city streets which resulted in over 900 calls for ice removal. Utilizing Cityworks and the GIS, the department mapped ice removal requests and the work performed on the requests, giving managers a visual representation of the areas where work was completed versus areas where work was still needed. Stan Welsch, Financial Coordinator at Fort Collins, recounts: “There were eight crews working throughout the city to complete the ice removal. Without Cityworks and its maps, it would have been very difficult for managers to schedule work. The manner in which the work was completed because of Cityworks and its GIS mapping capabilities resulted in the City performing the work much more efficiently than we ever could have done had we not had the system. This saved us valuable time and, therefore, money in being able to perform the ice removal in an orderly, productive manner.”
Street patching crews started utilizing Cityworks this past summer to schedule and map patches. To date, there have been 388 street patching work orders already this season. Doug Groves, the supervisor over scheduling the patch crew, told Mr. Welsch that Cityworks along with its mapping capabilities “is the best tool I could have to help manage the operation.”
“Cityworks is very adaptable and we’ve found we can reduce the time and money associated with many of our processes,” concluded Aragon. “Our crew chiefs love it and retrieving information for billing and reports is a snap. We’ve been very pleased with Cityworks and, I think we at the City all agree, it has provided us a great return of investment.”
By Stan Welsch, Financial Coordinator for Streets, and Sandy Aragon, Financial Coordinator for Traffic Operations, Fort Collins