By Jean Pilon-Bignell, AVP Government & Smart Cities
Telematics as a fleet management tool
Telematics–technology that captures data wirelessly and in real-time–is increasingly being used in municipal fleets to enhance vehicle efficiency and guide driver behaviour. Traditionally used as a fleet management tool, a city or state fleet manager can gain insights on how to drive downstream productivity efficiency, optimise fleet operations such as maintenance and fuel spend analytics, institute and measure safety initiatives and automate regulatory compliance and reporting.
Geotab has approximately 1.6 million connected vehicles across our customer base that touch almost every single road across North America hundreds of times a day. The data collected from these connected vehicles at aggregate provides valuable use cases and deep insights into smart city and transportation analytics for road networks.
Telematics as a Vision Zero tool
Vision Zero is a road safety initiative founded by the Swedish government that has successfully mobilised in Europe and now throughout the United States. Vision Zero’s focus to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries entails all parts of the roadway system prioritising safety.
Municipal fleets of vehicles are an important part of this equation, whether they’re used to shovel snow, respond to fires and emergencies or allow city employees to drive on official business. Measuring these fleets on city streets can provide useful information toward Vision Zero safety goals, as well as other areas such as fuel efficiency and congestion management.
Leveraging telematics for safety initiatives
To help cities reach their Vision Zero goals, telematics can be used to encourage municipal drivers to practice safe driving behaviour. By monitoring factors such as swerving, harsh braking, aggressive driving, rapid acceleration and the speed of the vehicle, compared to the posted road speed, fleet operators can provide driver training that targets specific problematic behaviours.
Safety use cases for fleet managers include:
- Driver scoring–to monitor driving behaviours at a very granular level based on swerving activities, harsh braking events, aggressive driving and acceleration behaviours. These allow you to ‘score’ your drivers based on different safety metrics.
- Driver coaching–based on the output of the driver scorecard you can assign different training programs to individual drivers that target very specific driving behaviours.
- Accident detection and reconstruction–notification of an accident level event in any vehicle within your fleet, including those that are parked with the ignition off. Fleet managers can have insight into location of impact, severity of impact, what was happening before and after the accident, all of which allows you to dispatch first responders or take corrective action when needed.
Safer, smarter streets
Beyond its traditional use as a fleet management tool, telematics can optimise smart transit. Access to aggregate data allows cities to closely monitor traffic flows, understand the effects of new projects and speed reduction programs, assess the efficiency of traffic signals, map air quality and highlight hazardous intersections. All these tools help cities and municipalities better manage the overall transit system.
- Traffic flow–understanding average road speeds across the entire road network is valuable for traffic engineers. Many municipalities are also interested in understanding the effectiveness of different traffic calming initiatives implemented and whether it has achieved the desired result, in most cases a reduction in speed.
- Intersection traffic flow–assessing the efficiency of traffic signals, as well as representation of the resulting safety at these intersections.
- Air quality mapping–connected vehicles can be equipped with low cost air quality sensors and overlaid with emissions data to give a very accurate representation of air quality issues in an area.
- Hazardous driving areas–the ability to assess high level driving characteristics and behaviours at aggregate in an entire jurisdiction allows for quick identification of specific hazardous driving areas.
Connected vehicles collecting and processing data at aggregate can support a regions Vision Zero goals by offering insightful data not only for fleet managers, but for municipalities. These deep insights provide visibility into the region’s infrastructure and transportation network, which can be used to make informed decisions and increase overall safety.
To learn more about Geotab’s smart city insights, email: email@example.com.
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