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Waste Management has put GPS tracking and on-board touch-screen computers in its Seattle garbage trucks to capture real-time route status information and provide wireless communications between drivers and dispatchers. The system includes custom mobile software running on ruggedized touch-screen tablet PCs with a Web-accessible custom dispatch application.

Mobile software provides a map of collection service points, replacing a paper address list. The system reroutes drivers when dispatchers add stops midroute. It gives dispatchers real-time updates on a vehicle's progress. And it lets dispatchers reassign work and automatically notify drivers of changes through instant messages.

Under the new system, missed pickups are down 60%. And Waste Management has exceeded tightly defined service levels in its contract with the city of Seattle. Waste Management also has cut paper consumption by more than 1 million sheets per year.

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