Mayor Edward Rendell

Honorable Mention
The City of Philadelphia and 3M Traffic Control Materials Division Fleet Management Project

Created in April 1993 by Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell, the Office of Management (OFM) is responsible for ensuring the availability of safe and reliable municipal vehicles to support the delivery of services to City residents. As part of its effort to more effectively manage a fleet of nearly 6,000 vehicles . a fleet that includes ambulances, fire apparatus, trash compactors, highway paving equipment, police cars, cargo vans, and buses . OFM has pursued multiple strategies to promote fleet uniformity and consistency. One of OFM's strategies led to a successful partnership with JMR Graphics, a 3MTM Authorized Commercial Converter, that has standardized vehicle markings for the City's fleet.

Through their partnership, OFM and JMR collaborated on the development of a new vehicle graphics system that utilizes 3M products and new technologies to increase the visibility of vehicle markings and to standardize their application. These computer-generated markings require substantially less time to apply and are more durable than traditional paint-based markings.

All of the City's service-related vehicles (except for those used for undercover law enforcement activities) are now marked with standardized information: The City name and seal, a prominently displayed vehicle identification number, and the name of the department to which the vehicle is assigned. Before this system was implemented, the City's vehicle markings were not uniform in style or message. There were no standards for lettering, color or placement of graphics, and citizens often were unable to identify City vehicles by sight. The hand painting of vehicle markings could produce paint smudges, mismatched colors and incorrect sizing. The paint offered poor resistance to inclement weather, and the process was time-consuming.

Prior to the utilization of 3M's innovative graphics system, it took an average of 22.5 hours to hand-paint markings on one fire engine. Today, by simply applying these computer-generated graphics in the appropriate places, technicians require just four hours to mark that same fire engine, and the markings they apply last an average of seven years, three years longer than traditional paint-based markings.

Beyond the greater cost-effectiveness offered by the program . the reduction in labor time enables OFM to stretch its resources to mark more vehicles . public perception of the municipal fleet and the accountability of City workers have been enhanced. In addition, OFM has experienced a marked upswing in citizen inquiries about potentially questionable and inappropriate uses of City vehicles. Clearly, an informed and aware community is helping OFM better safeguard valuable municipal assets and assure the proper use of taxpayer dollars.

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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