BEHIND THE WHEEL
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.
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.