Behind The Wheel
CONTENTS About GreenRoad
By Richard Tackett
Driving behavior â€“ Part Two
By Richard Tackett
The move from telematics to mobile apps
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GreenRoad helps businesses run safe, efficient and profitable fleets by providing them with actionable, evidence-based information. GreenRoad was founded in 2004 to apply advanced mathematic modeling and cutting-edge technology to the problem of accurate predicting and intercepting risky driving. Today, GreenRoad transforms the way businesses manage their fleets at every level. Our driver and fleet performance management solution engages drivers directly for meaningful, lasting behavior change. At the same time, fleet tracking, mapping and reporting help fleets optimize their daily and strategic operations. Furthermore, better driving behaviors increase fuel efficiency and enhance vehicle performance. For businesses this means safer, better performing drivers, lower operational costs and greater customer satisfaction for a clear competitive advantage. Visit www.greenroad.com for more information!
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BUSRide recently sat down with the principals of GreenRoad, Austin, TX, the providers of a driver and fleet performance management solution aimed at helping organizations improve productivity through real-time actionable data and insights. In this informative Q&A, we explore the benefits and intricacies associated with such a solution and its associated driver improvement programs. What is driver behavior or driver performance modification? How is it different than GPS tracking drivers and speed? The main problem with GPS telematics is that it’s an incredibly diverse technology which encompasses so many different fields. It tends to not diagnose the root cause of poor driving behaviors – the drivers and lack of real-time improvement coaching. There are two major issues with driver behavior as it relates to bus and coach transportation. First, passenger transport drivers already have a disconnect between actual driving capability and perceived driving capability. Second, the very repetitive nature of driving a bus or coach means that, as drivers repeatedly trace the same routes, their level of concentration and focus begins to diminish. GreenRoad has found a niche by first of all being able to clearly identify a driver’s risk profile – achieved through compound event detection coupled with its unique ability of calibrating its technology to each vehicle based on the client’s required standards. It’s also important for drivers to access the information and use it for self-management. That removes the fear that this is a technology used to spy on the driver. When drivers are provided correction while in the vehicle, they begin to see that the technology is there to help them perform better behind the wheel. For operators, driver performance modification technology allows them to maximize driver potential. The ability to engage with each driver, every day, face to face, is nigh impossible in a large operation. Having a technology where a huge proportion of drivers can selfmanage or self-improve with the GreenRoad central interface makes a driver behavior project scalable and sustainable. What does a successful driver behavior/ safety program consist of for a mobile workforce or fleet? No project can work unless management fully supports the technology. Once the program is established, it has a track record of very little management required. Many operations have been very successful in feeding positive feedback to their drivers. This can include names on the wall or even letters of thanks from the CEO. One manager went down to his drivers’ breakroom in the morning and made tea, coffee and sandwiches for his drivers – just as a token of appreciation for their efforts. Those kinds of positive reinforcement go a long way. Other managers are providing tips and hints, and making sure that any struggling drivers know that they’re there to help, not criticize and complain. If you have a psychology of openness, knowledge, training and very strong recognition of improvements, you’ll find that drivers modify their behavior far quicker than most would expect. Once it’s established, the system is essentially self-managing. Drivers begin to not only modify their behavior in the workplace, but also take it in to their personal lives as well.
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Driver behavior modification technology allows managers to maximize driver potential.
What can an organization expect to see by way of results when implementing a driver behavior/ safety program? What is the typical return on investment (ROI)? Benefits yielded from driver behavior or safety programs typically are short-term benefits that grow into long-term benefits. Safety is a very critical element when implementing GreenRoad. Still, it takes some time to find if a reduction in accidents is consistent, so most people initially make the move because of fuel savings. If you’re operating a fleet with inefficient drivers (not necessarily dangerous drivers, but certainly sub-optimized), a program like this can get them to perform optimally and managers will see anywhere between 4 to 10 percent in fuel savings, a significant reduction in passenger accidents and lower cost of vehicle maintenance. Three factors affect that: how bad the driver group is initially; how well the client engages with the project; and finally the type of operation. Urban or transit configurations allow for more maneuver changes. For these reasons, net effects of improvements in fuel and other safety and operational savings will be felt in no more than three months. Accident rates are also significantly reduced. We typically see between a 25-50 percent reduction in accidents, but accidents are sometimes challenging to identify. Some operators claim any damage as an accident, while others have a cost threshold. The best method is to look at accident cost reduction, because programs like these are best at stopping significant accidents. This will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in insurance premiums. For these reasons, the dramatic ROI that bus operators get from driver behavior systems are dramatically different from simple telematics systems, by orders of magnitude. GreenRoad is a global leader in driver and fleet performance management solutions, helping organizations achieve greater productivity and improved safety and performance through real-time actionable data. GreenRoad’s advanced technology and analytics help organizations of all types improve driver safety, increase operational efficiencies, and maintain corporate and regulatory compliance while reducing overall risk. Visit www.greenroad.com.
Driving behavior – Part 2 In this issue, BUSRide resumes an interview with the principals of GreenRoad, Austin, TX, the providers of a driver behavior modification program aimed at increasing driver and passenger safety, reducing fuel costs and gaining customer loyalty. Driver behavior makes a huge impact on the passenger experience.
What’s the expected ROI for agencies investing in a driver behavior modification program? Big Bus Tours, London, England, recently adopted such a program. Big Bus Tours is the largest operator of open-top sightseeing tours in the world, providing sightseeing tours in 18 cities across three continents. They wanted to give tourists on their buses a 3D-movie experience. For this reason, they needed drivers to not necessarily drive the posted speed limit but rather a company-mandated speed limit for optimal movie viewing. They wanted their customers to leave the vehicle valuing that unique mobile movie experience. With a driver behavior program, the transition was very easy for the Big Bus drivers. The ROI in that situation was the satisfaction of the tourists feeling that they had a special experience. In April 2015, 3,200 megabus.com and Coach USA drivers started using the GreenRoad system to help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, improve customer comfort and cut the risk of accidents. A key element of the initiative is a Green Driver incentive program giving employees the chance to earn “green points” for safe, efficient driving that are converted into financial benefits from a potential $1 million annual bonus pool. The ROI for Coach USA comes from satisfied customers and drivers. Customer retention is the most important ROI in the coach market, because passengers have many choices. Driver behavior makes a huge impact on the passenger experience. How does the makeup of a fleet determine what operators should be monitoring? How are bus and coach fleets unique in this regard? A comprehensive performance management system will track performance based on a few key factors. The two most critical areas for
motorcoach operators are passenger safety and fuel economy. Driver behavior modification improves both of these areas. Furthermore, when there’s blame, there’s certain to be a claim. Going to court is practically cost-prohibitive. Driver behavior modification and recording programs go a step beyond camera surveillance in mitigating false injury claims. Coupled with cameras, this provides a “360-view” of any incident that can happen on a moving bus. What other benefits do driver behavior modification programs present? The maintenance benefits are really quite simple. Drivers are controlling vehicles more carefully and appropriately, and this carries down to components like brakes. Some operators have reported as much as 20 to 25 percent reductions in annual maintenance costs because of reduced brake maintenance. There’s far less wear and tear on consumable parts, which adds up to huge savings over time. Operators have also reported improved relationships between management, drivers and unions, because the data from driver behavior modification programs allows all involved to talk frankly and focus on solving mutual problems. Management now spends as much time as possible on positive reinforcement as they did previously on driver discipline. GreenRoad was founded in 2004 to apply advanced mathematic modeling and cutting-edge technology to the problem of accurately predicting and intercepting risky driving. Today, GreenRoad transforms the way businesses manage their fleets at every level. Visit www.greenroad.com.
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The move from telematics to mobile apps BUSRide recently spoke with the principals of GreenRoad, Austin, TX, the providers of a driver and fleet performance management solution aimed at helping organizations improve productivity through real-time actionable data and insights. In this Q&A, we discuss how traditional telematics solutions can be replaced or reinforced with mobile applications for smartphones and tablets. To begin, why is it important for operators to consider a move from a hardwired telematics tracking solution to a mobile application? With our global customers, we’re seeing a platform shift away from telematics subscriptions, which have traditionally provided a hard-wired unit as well as a lengthy and costly implementation process. Furthermore, subscribing to a telematics provider offers little flexibility with new platforms and initiatives. They’re fixed solutions with typically one or two features, so they don’t interface well with the latest and greatest in transportation technology – like cloud-based solutions or mobile apps, for example. We’re still investing in the highest quality “black box” solution, because bus transportation still very much relies on that sort of solution. However, we’ve started to invest more in helping our customers shift toward a mobile solution. Operators who are redesigning their fleets, or investing in new vehicles, tell us that they want black-box capabilities but don’t want to go through an expensive, lengthy installation. Are smart devices as effective as traditional telematics solutions? GPS technology on smartphones and tablets is incredibly advanced – an iPhone can triangulate its user’s location instantly. There’s no reason an operator should have to pay a subscription fee to do the same tracking on a vehicle. By utilizing already-available mobile technology, we’re able to provide operators that same ability on smartphones and tablets – along with the driver behavior suite that GreenRoad is known for. We obviously recommend a fixed tablet setup – either planted to the floor or mounted to the dashboard – as smartphone use can be dangerous or unwieldy when operating a vehicle. How does this kind of app go beyond simple telematics? Vehicle tracking should just be part of what operators receive in this kind of solution. In this case, it’s just a free feature that enables driver behavior modification, fuel management, maintenance and fleet management. The app gives drivers easy access to their GreenRoad performance anytime, anywhere. Drivers can access their safety score, idling score, team rank and trip details, and keep safety top of mind with quick tips – all with the convenience and elegance of a native smartphone application. Even better, the app can be run in the background of the mobile device while in motion to discourage distracted driving. The solution enhances any fleet or mobile workforce’s capability to mitigate risky driver behavior by setting organizational standards and controls for any and all drivers. Stakeholders, such as safety and fleet managers, risk and operations management, c-suite, and finance teams, can access and collaborate through the platform and have total 6
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visibility into the performance of both their drivers and their fleets. The app enables any organization to easily identify safety, operational and fiscal improvement opportunities – like driver hot spots, driver safety scorecards, fuel management, vehicle health and hours of service. How does the app integrate with driver behavior modification? The app’s in-vehicle display gives drivers objective, real-time feedback whenever a risky driving event occurs. Simple audio and visual feedback helps drivers quickly self-correct without being distracted from the road. And at the end of every trip, an automatic summary displays the trip safety level and other stats. If an operator is taking advantage of the driver behavior program, the app provides a more intuitive interface for drivers than the standard GreenRoad suite. If a driver-related event happens – like speeding, cornering or hard braking – the app uses an audible alert to tell the driver specifically what he or she did wrong. It’s much more instantaneous feedback. GreenRoad is a global leader in driver and fleet performance management solutions, helping organizations achieve greater productivity and improved safety and performance through real-time actionable data. GreenRoad’s advanced technology and analytics help organizations of all types improve driver safety, increase operational efficiencies, and maintain corporate and regulatory compliance while reducing overall risk. Visit www.greenroad.com.