Customers > The City of Sacramento saves taxpayer dollars by maintaining their fleet of 2,500 vehicles with Samsara
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The City of Sacramento saves taxpayer dollars by maintaining their fleet of 2,500 vehicles with Samsara

“The City of Sacramento chose Samsara because we have the same vision: being able to use data to see the big picture.”


The City of Sacramento selected Samsara to gain full visibility into their fleet operations, improve citizen services, and reach its sustainability goals.

Meet the City of Sacramento 

Home to more than 521,000 residents and California’s state capital, the City of Sacramento provides public services such as fire, police, public works, parks and recreation, and more for a growing population. Behind all of these critical services is the City of Sacramento’s Fleet Division, run by Fleet Manager Mark Stevens. 

With 2,500 vehicles and pieces of equipment to maintain, the Fleet Division’s main priority is to provide high quality service to its customers. “Our customers are the internal departments that make our city run,” said Stevens. “Our mission is to ensure that they have the safe and dependable equipment they need, when they need it.” 

Furthermore, as a public fleet, Stevens and his team are motivated by saving taxpayer dollars. “We put a big focus on being cost-effective and sustainable in order to reach city-wide goals,” said Stevens. “We need to know our operating costs so that we can show that we’re an efficient operation.”

Prior to installing Samsara’s fleet management platform, Stevens and his team lacked granular data to benchmark their fleet performance. While they could gather high-level metrics to showcase their performance to the City, it was difficult to collect data to inform decisions around fleet electrification, idling interventions, and other cost-saving measures. 

“We needed data to start analyzing what we didn’t know yet,” said Stevens. “Having customizable data to make conclusions about our fleet is key.” 

In order to accomplish the department’s goals, Stevens sought out technology that could give him granular insight into his fleet’s performance. “Technology is at the center of determining our cost effectiveness,” Stevens said. After evaluating several vendors, Stevens selected Samsara because it provided real-time location data, insight into sustainability metrics such as fuel efficiency, and one consolidated platform that could give visibility into the City of Sacramento’s entire fleet. 

The power of data with Samsara 

In order to improve efficiency and reduce costs, Stevens needed a system that could provide department-level insights and enable driver coaching. With their previous GPS tracking system, Stevens found that the reporting capabilities were limited. “Canned reports just don’t work. We were looking for a flexible system with agile reporting,” Stevens said.

“I’m always looking to improve my fleet and Samsara’s technology gives us new avenues to analyze our data." 

Now, with Samsara, Stevens has the data and flexibility he needs to identify and improve inefficiencies across his fleet. By using tags to segment departments and vehicle types, Stevens can look at different subsets of his fleet to pinpoint areas for improvement:  

  • Real-time diagnostics allow Stevens to reduce downtime by catching maintenance issues quicker, which reduces costs and keeps his customers’ services running smoothly. 

  • Insight into fuel metrics and idle time across departments, enable Stevens to identify which drivers and which departments are wasting fuel more often and coach them to stick to their 5-minute idling limit. 

  • One consolidated dashboard gives Stevens unparalleled visibility into where his vehicles and equipment are. 

“I’m always looking to improve my fleet, and Samsara’s technology gives us new avenues to analyze our data,” said Stevens.

The ability to look into data from different groups also allows Stevens and his team to communicate to departments how they can benefit from telematics. “We can visualize the telematics data for each department and show them how these insights can help them improve their services,” said Stevens. For example, he can show departments how to reduce their downtime by tailoring data to serve their particular needs. This allows departments to service citizens more efficiently and improve response time, as well as reduce maintenance costs down the road.

Sacramento’s vision for a more sustainable future  

As a leader among public fleets, it’s no surprise that the City of Sacramento has an ambitious program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in upcoming years and decades. Because of this, it was critical for the Fleet Division’s new telematics system to have features that supported their sustainability initiatives, which include features for electric vehicle (EV) fleet management and fuel efficiency reporting.

Instituted in 2007, the City’s fleet sustainability plan aims to improve the City of Sacramento’s regional air quality by focusing on six key areas: 

  1. Reducing emissions

  2. Acquiring low-emission and zero-emission vehicles

  3. Reducing fuel consumption 

  4. Improving vehicle operational efficiency 

  5. Improving cost-effectiveness

  6. Enhancing monitoring and reporting 

The plan also mandates that at least 75% of annual light-duty fleet purchases must be zero-emission vehicles by 2020.

Before Samsara, the Fleet Division didn’t have a system that could collect data from zero-emission or electric vehicles. Additionally, because they lacked vehicle diagnostics data for their traditional fleet, they didn’t have insight into fuel efficiency, average daily range, or estimated annual fuel savings. This made it difficult to assess electrification opportunities and make vehicle replacement decisions. “We get asked all the time about our operating costs. And before Samsara, it was difficult to assess our vehicle costs,” said Stevens.

With Samsara, the Fleet Division now has comprehensive data and insights into the total cost of ownership for their traditional gasoline vehicles. This data, along with the Fleet Electrification Report, allow Stevens and his team to assess which of their vehicles are good candidates to transition to EVs. 

With the Samsara Fuel and Energy Report, the Fleet Division can now drill down into fuel efficiency and idling across their fleet. Plus, data from Samsara idle alerts can be used to encourage other departments to be more fuel efficient. “Now, I’m able to show our police department, for example, that they’re idling over our limit and work with them to get their idling times down,” said Stevens.

Using technology to empower employees and customers 

In order to simplify workflows for both staff and city departments, Stevens and the Fleet Division were looking to cut down on the number of technology providers they had to use. “Selecting a consolidated vendor was a must-have for us,” said Stevens. “As a fleet manager, I’m always looking to standardize our technology to make it easier for our customers and our staff to use.”

When it comes to handling citizen complaints, having one consolidated dashboard with Samsara makes all the difference for City staff. Previously, when a citizen called the city manager’s office to complain about a city vehicle, the Fleet Division had to manually search their previous system for the timestamp in question, add trip history data to a spreadsheet, and share it with the city manager. Not only was this process time-consuming, but it was difficult for the Fleet Division to provide accurate vehicle information due to their lack of accurate data. 

With Samsara’s Proximity Search—which allows employees to quickly and easily search for nearby vehicles by location and timestamp—City staff are able to resolve citizen inquiries and cut down on time spent going back and forth between the Fleet Division. “When our IT specialist said he really liked the Samsara product and Samsara’s ability to capture and review data, I knew we were going to select Samsara. I wanted to go with the platform that was most convenient for my employees,” said Stevens.

"I wanted to go with the platform that was most convenient for my employees.”

Additionally, because the City of Sacramento has a diverse fleet of light-duty vehicles, EVs, and heavy equipment, it was critical to have a platform that could provide robust data on every type of asset. With a consolidated platform, Stevens is now able to have visibility into the entire department’s fleet in solution and his team saves valuable time searching for information. 

“After seeing the global picture into our fleet operations that Samsara provided, it was a no-brainer decision,” Stevens said. 

Based on their success with Samsara telematics, the City of Sacramento is also evaluating Samsara’s AI Dash Cams to take full advantage of Samsara’s comprehensive fleet management platform. 

Partnering for the future 

Looking to the future, Stevens is excited about having more robust data to improve and demonstrate the Fleet Division’s cost-effectiveness. “Nobody else that I’m aware of has technology like Samsara,” said Stevens. "Samsara’s platform gives us complete visibility into our fleet, so we can make data-driven decisions about our operations. This is very much in line with the City's goals for a more transparent, efficient government.”

Looking for ways to achieve your city or county's sustainability goals? Download the Samsara Guide on How to Build Your Electrification Strategy now.

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