Public Works Mobile Department Operations Center

Public Works Mobile Department Operations Center

The Public Works Public Services Department has many responsibilities in the event of any disaster occurring, whether it may be manmade or natural. The Department must assess damage to the City’s infrastructure, develop action plans for repairs, re-open roadways, support Public Safety with recovery operations and manage debris cleanup throughout the entire city.

The Public Works Public Services Department in 2014 began evaluating how the Municipal Service Center could operate as the Department Operation Center in the likely event of an earthquake. Would the MSC and other city facilities be impacted to the point of not being able to operate? What contingency plan would need to be added into the Department’s Earthquake Response Plan?  The Department concluded that it could develop a portable office type vehicle to accomplish these goals. This led to developing the concept of a Mobile Department Operation Center (MDOC).

Back in 2015 this MDOC project was proposed to the Director of Public Works and the Fleet Replacement Committee.  In 2018 the Department was able to purchase the trailer and retrofit it with all the necessary equipment to operate during a disaster. The MDOC is the only fully self-contained solar powered vehicle of this type in the state currently.

Purpose and Mission

  • Mobile Department Operations Center and field Incident Command Post for Palo Alto Public Works Department
  • Supports public safety – a joint project with Office of Emergency Services
  • Back-up office space during short term displacement of city buildings during a regional disaster
  • Command Post function expanded with tents and vehicles to support staff and missions
  • Maximize off-grid renewable power to create an “always on” and sustainable platform

Mutual Aid Resource

  • The only fully self-contained solar powered vehicle of this type in the state.
  • Could be deployed across the region in support of our San Francisquito Creek Mutual Aid partners
  • Mobilized routinely for operations, events, exercises, and public demonstrations

Vehicle Facts

  • 100 % solar powered
  • 4 kWp of PV panels on roof                                   
  • 8 kWh lithium battery
  • 35 foot tall pneumatic mast
  • 24 foot trailer
  • HVAC: Heating and air conditioning

Onboard Networks

  • 4G LTE data connection
  • Direct wire and fiber connection
  • WI-FI
  • Multi-band microwave link

Audio/Video Systems

  • Avaya IP-based telephone system
  • Workstations for 12 staff members


  • Radios covering 700-800 MHZ frequencies