Ramping Up for College

Enterprise-level turns campus-level as major universities across the country expand their fleets and solutions

By Emma Green

Ryan Driscoll, Marketing Director at GPS Insight LLC.

How can building an effective government fleet safety program help to ensure that vehicles are safe to operate? 

It starts with implementing a comprehensive program that includes GPS tracking, in-cab smart cameras, and analytics dashboards that allow fleet managers to track driver behavior while also keeping up to date on maintenance and other issues. In that same vein, vehicles that have been in less accidents and are well-maintained are more likely to last longer and prove to be reliable to their operators. By incorporating these data analytics, fleet managers can access a broad scope view of all their vehicles and keep track of whether a driver or their vehicle prove safe day by day. 

As universities prepare for Fall 2021, what do you see as the main on-campus fleet needs? 

We have just spent a year in quarantine, so it will definitely be an adjustment getting back on-campus and in the swing of things. Some of the biggest needs that require attention for Fall 2021 are better rider experiences, reduced insurance risk, increased visibility for fleet managers, and – most importantly – increased safety for campus inhabitants and drivers. 

With so much fleet data available for managers, how can they best focus efforts on maximizing that data’s value? 

A huge help is what we call Scorecard reports that aggregate data pulled from monitoring driver activity and vehicle status and ranks them based on good and bad behavior. AI can automatically score severe, moderate, mild and positive driving activity whenever a vehicle is in use or on the road. This allows managers to recognize driver, group or fleet issues and to reward good drivers. Drivers themselves can use the mobile app to see progress and see how they rank.

What sort of ROI can an advanced GPS tracking system provide for universities and educational institutions running bus fleets? 

By detecting, alerting, and reporting on basic driving behavior, and identifying risky events, a fleet can see a reduction in accidents, speeding tickets, and maintenance costs. A two-year safety study shows a 30 percent decrease in claims submitted for at fault incidents across 26 fleets.

Utilizing an in-cab camera provides fleets with evidence to exonerate their driver/fleet if/when an incident occurs, significantly reducing legal and repair costs. Expect to see a reduction in preventable vehicle accidents of 50 percent or more.

Creating a driver-friendly safety solution that works with, not against, the driver leads to less driver turnover and a positive work environment.

In which areas of a bus fleet can this technology help most?

Location: Whether looking at where a vehicle is, or where it should be, location tracking is the most basic element of a fleet safety program as it provides visibility into routes, usage, and driver behavior. Fleet managers can track vehicles and determine optimal routes and access visibility into timing and delivery metrics. At the core of any fleet safety program is location tracking technology.

Maintenance: GPS tracking solutions can make it easy to ensure that mobile resources get the maintenance they need, when they need it, to avoid costly, time-consuming breakdowns and down time. The technology can help: 

– Ensure DOT compliance with Driver Vehicle Inspection
(DVIR) reporting. 

– Schedule preventative maintenance ahead of time and track it all electronically. 

– Ensure maintenance teams are aware of diagnostic trouble codes and what the issue is to determine if/when the vehicle needs to be brought in. Then, a fleet manager can push odometer readings and diagnostic trouble codes from the GPS device into their existing maintenance software to ensure proactive and reactive maintenance is scheduled automatically.

Fuel use: Driver behavior can impact fuel consumption. Utilizing on-demand reports and real-time alerts can diagnose fuel waste and help fleets determine best practices for idle times and utilization. Route analytics helps reduce unnecessary miles, saving both fuel and labor costs.

Safety: Safety is always the most important as it has the most impact on people’s lives. By investing in a government fleet safety program, fleet managers can monitor behavior, context, scoring and coaching. 

– Behavior: Dashboards and in-cab cameras offer complete visibility to track negative behaviors and positive behaviors, ultimately creating an overall positive fleet culture, improving safety, and preventing incidents from occurring.

– Context: In-cab cameras track and analyze 100% of a driver’s activity, and automatically sends drivers videos and analysis to change behaviors like distracted driving or following distance.

– Scoring: AI evaluates severe and moderate incidents to determine a driver’s safety score. This tool allows managers to track individual driver and fleet performance against goals.

– Coaching: With remote or virtual coaching, the AI pinpoints problematic driving habits, prepares examples and sends them to the driver’s app for weekly review. The app can then make suggestions for how the driver can improve their score over the next week.

What advice do you offer fleet-owners looking to upgrade this technology? Please focus on preliminary and initial steps.

Investing in a GPS tracking solution can be easy, it’s finding a partner with the skills, experience, and compatibility that will provide the results your organization is looking to achieve that is the hard part. That is where the right vendor can help. 

Start by identifying your organization’s challenges. Include all departments that will use the technology and the people that will be impacted daily to not only garner different points of view, but also obtain buy-in from all stakeholders. Next, match features and products to your fleet’s issues and consider both your current and long-term goals. Make sure to take the time to identify other operational software your organization offers to determine data integration and save time and money. 

The next step is the test drive. Conduct a trial run and inspect compatibility of each solution before deciding. After that, it’s time to make an investment.