Tag Archive for safety

Exceeding Speeding Expectations

Sarah_Coach-CanadaWhen Coach Canada decided to really put its Webtech Wireless Quadrant solution to the test, it never expected the data on speeding to exceed expectations. Coach Canada prides itself in its commitment to providing safe and reliable scheduled and chartered bus services throughout Ontario and Quebec as well as service via third-party carriers to New York City and beyond.

Ensuring its passengers a safe ride is key to its success, so having visibility into individual bus speeding information is likewise important. “The number one benefit of Quadrant for us is the ability to verify speed”, says Sarah Pridie, Operations Clerk in charge of driver and fleet monitoring at Coach Canada.

Speeding is Serious Business

Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NHTSA), “In the US, the annual economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is $40.4 billion”. Furthermore, research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that “when speed limits were raised by many states in 1996, travel speeds increased and motor vehicle fatalities went up significantly on Interstate highways in those states”.

Driver Behavior

For Coach Canada, safety assurance through speeding prevention is the best remedy it can offer. Coach Canada has undertaken a pro-active stance to ensure its drivers comply, first, with posted speed limits; and second, with company speed limits (sometimes its standards are more stringent than those enforced by highway authorities).

But rather than be authoritarian, pro-actively enforcing speed limits in real-time with its drivers is, if not welcomed, certainly respected. “We have had drivers thank us for enabling the MDT Speed Alert beep as an added safety measure for them and their passengers”, says Pridie who monitors driver behavior through Quadrant reports.

Key Quadrant Benefits for Coach Canada

  • MDT speeding alerts beep to indicate to drivers when they’re exceeding speed limits.
  • Two Quadrant reports provide the data Sarah needs to ensure Coach Canada’s drivers are driving safely:
    • Speeding Duration report – Uses Vsend configuration to capture length of time the vehicle traveled beyond a pre-defined speed.
    • Driver Performance report – shows data from all vehicles and highlights driving behavior issues such as hard breaking or sharp accelerations, indicators of potential dangerous behavior by drivers.

How does Sarah and Coach Canada know they’re getting ahead of speeding? According to Sarah, “Management treats it [speeding] seriously and so do drivers”. Then she adds matter of factly, “We’ve seen a 90.4 percent reduction in speeding after implementing these Quadrant Features in 2012”.

Measuring Safety and Efficiency

–By Chuck Lane, Solution Engineer, Webtech Wireless

Chuck Lane is a solution engineer with Webtech Wireless who lives in central Florida. He contributes blog posts focusing on technical solutions in the field. Below he describes one solution we’ve developed to help Tampa Electric improve its safety and efficiency of work crews.


Co-Location Report – Where Are Our Supervisors?

When we approached Tampa Electric in 2011 about the need for a GPS fleet tracking system, we found the words “safety” and “efficiency” were of utmost importance. Tampa Electric was interested in how the system would help them to operate more safely and increase overall efficiency of their vehicle fleet relating to customer service. As the two companies sorted through the business requirements and what possible Webtech Wireless features may be of interest to Tampa Electric, the issue of the need for a Co-Location report came up.

A Co-Location report shows how much time a supervisor spends supervising a service crew. Tampa Electric was convinced that a supervisor’s time should be spent in the field supervising work crews rather than in the office. Tampa Electric maintains that this will increase the safety of the crew as well as efficiency.

How does the Co-Location report improve safety and efficiency?

Safety – Much of the work Tampa Electric crews do is dangerous work. There is the persistent risk of workers getting injured or kill through falls from hydro poles or electrocution. Having the supervisor on site reduces these risks. Tampa Electric wanted to know where its supervisors were. As with GPS-based speeding data, behavior changes if people know they’re “being watched”. Visibility increases compliance.

Efficiency – Tampa Electric uses its fleet GPS tracking in a number of ways to improve efficiency. For example, knowing when vehicles enter and exit geofence areas ensures drivers and supervisors are working together towards a common goal.

Overcoming Challenges

A number of issues needed to be overcome in order to get the report to work properly. The situation where a vehicle is parked on or near a parking lot boundary (night time off duty area) had to be compensated for due to the fact that GPS “jump” readings sometimes occur. The fact that the lead and supervisor vehicles could move at any time creating the need for the creation of new geofence boundaries and calculations was also a concern that must be accommodated.

Several design sessions were held and Tampa Electric input was captured. A rollout of GPS/AVL units to the Tampa Electric fleet was started with the expectation that the Co-Location report would be available in the near future. A report release was made available several months later. The design and functioning of the report went through several changes, particularly overcoming the challenge of parking lot boundaries mentioned above as well as remedying GPS data, which required some trial and error adjustments. When these were addressed by Webtech Wireless engineers, the new report was released.

At this point it is probably good to point out how the report works and some of the challenges that had to be overcome in order to get the report to produce good information:

How it works…

A worksite is defined by the location of a “lead vehicle”. The lead vehicle must be stopped (ignition off or idle) for more than five minutes before a worksite is created (configurable). Worksites extend a configurable radius from the lead vehicle (default: 200 feet).

Special Geofences can be created to ensure that the lead vehicles do not create worksites when parked in company depots or other common locations. The worksite is a dynamic landmark, meaning it does not appear on the map, is not visible in Landmark reports, and is deleted when the lead vehicle moves on.

Co-Location Admin

The Report…

The report is grouped by supervisor vehicle. For each supervisor, the information is grouped by lead vehicle and by day. Information includes time range, lead truck location by address, total time in range of lead vehicle, number of visits, and percentage of time in range of lead vehicle.

Co-Location Vehicle Name
Daily totals for each supervisor are easy to view!
Co-Location Daily totals

Measuring Success

Although there were challenges, Tampa Electric stood by the solution as report modifications were made to produce a report that was reliable and could be distributed to Tampa Electric supervisors with confidence of accurate results.

Currently, Tampa Electric is using this report and distributing among supervisors for review. The original goals of increased safety and efficiency have been met. The Tampa Electric supervisors are aware that their actual time in contact with their work crews is now being measured.

An Ounce of GPS Prevention

CalVans

For CalVans (California Vanpool Authority), success is not measured by how it makes the news, but from its successful avoidance. While the Media may feast on stories of accidents and negligence, CalVans relaxes in the knowledge that “No news is good news”.

Originally established in 2001 with just one van, CalVans was since grown to more than 200 vanpools designed for the unique needs of commuters, students, and farm workers. By providing a cost-effective and convenient alternative to commuter driving, while meeting the needs of the State’s environmental and transportation needs, CalVans is a vital part in a growing community transportation network.

Using Webtech Wireless’ GPS/AVL tracking is part of what makes CalVans a no-news success story, because it helps prevent accidents, theft, and other bad news from filling the papers:

  • Drivers, passengers, and all users of the road are safer because drivers are alerted in real-time when they speed, and speeding reports help CalVans monitor its drivers.
  • Through theft prevention and driver authentication, insurance premiums are kept low.
  • By providing an alternative to California’s notorious highway gridlock while helping to reduce C02 emissions, CalVans qualifies for State grants and other funding.
  • Fleet vehicles last longer because the Webtech Wireless Maintenance Portal enables CalVans to pro-actively monitor engine status and schedule van maintenance.

Integrating Fleet Technology Boosts Revenue

Recently, we talked with CEO, Steve Troyer, and found out how Troyer Ventures is generating revenue to stay way ahead of its competition.

Challenge

As a leading fluid transportation company in the oil and gas sector in north-eastern British Columbia, Troyer Ventures found that it couldn’t grow with the old system. And to realize their growth potential without replacing the old system, Troyer was facing adding an additional dispatch office or even splitting the fleet, which in itself presented another host of operations challenges.

To realize its revenue generating potential, Troyer made the strategic decision to embrace an integrated technology solution.

Solution

Troyer took the unprecedented initiative to adopt a challenging integration combining the best of three different software providers: TMW, Great Plains, and Webtech Wireless’ Quadrant solution.

“It allows us to re-allocate staff to more strategic activities than merely pushing paper and most importantly, it has allowed us to grow and handle more revenue with the same staff.”
—Steve Troyer, Troyer Ventures

Better ROI

So far, the implementation is showing many encouraging trends and Steve concludes that what’s emerging shows what a great fleet management tool Quadrant is, because it has allowed Troyer to “realize better returns on our assets and people”.

“With the level of minute-by-minute information we’re getting, Quadrant is the best thing going.”
—Steve Troyer, Troyer Ventures

How Much Better?

Steve expects benefits to increase over next 12 months with trends pointing toward a complete return on investment in the not-too-distant future. In addition, the new growth strategy leverages on improved staff efficiencies, particularly as staff re-allocations mean increased revenues for the company without increasing staff.

“In the end, it all pays off—we doubled our revenue.”
—Steve Troyer, Troyer Ventures