GPS Technology Beginning Phases

 

GPS Technology Beginning Phases

We are in the beginning stages of evaluating GPS technology for both Fleet benefit but for the end users (wires/poles) as well. We would really appreciate any assistance you could provide and if you would be willing to have a conversation with us, if needed.

1)Do you have telematics (GPS) technology for your Fleet? If so, do you have on 100% of your fleet or different classifications? If less than 100% installation, how did you determine where to install (ie larger equipment, etc)
2)What provider do you use?
3)Does it interface with your Fleet Maintenance Management System (i.e. AssetWorks M5)? Any details would be appreciated.
4)The challenge we’ve heard is the ability to review all the data and use this data to make decisions.
a)How did you address the impact to resources necessary to read and use the data? End User group (ie Electric Utilities: Energy Distribution Dept) or Fleet?
b)Could you select priority areas to monitor only (ie speed, brakes, engine, routing, etc). If so, could you share any background on what you chose and why?
c)did you find the benefit and use of the data ongoing or was it used more in the beginning and then use dropped off?
5)Have you realized quantifiable savings from the technology (extended vehicle lifecycle (ie better utilization, identifying key engine problems before failure? Fuel? Routing? Fleet maintenance?
6)Have you seen any benefits from a safety perspective through monitoring of speed, seatbelt, etc? If so, could you provide some information on percent decrease or examples of cases where telematics was attributed to the reduction in safety incident(s)?
7)How were you able to come to the decision to go forward – business case, ROI ? We see an ROI being difficult unless the end user could use this service for work order routing, etc. Any unique data to consider in the calculation?
8)How was the technology accepted by the users (some feel ‘big brother is watching’)
9)If you had a choice to go to telematics or not, would you do it again? Why or why not?

We appreciate any help you can provide and thanks for taking your time.

Thank you.

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I have seen several forum requests start with similar questions - and they are questions I'm looking for the answer to as well - but there are always so few responses. Are people emailing you directly? Would you be willing to share their responses with me? OR, is telematics not as widely used as we are led to believe so those reading the forum do not have any info to share? I'm wondering about that as well!

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Asplundh Case Study
Above is a link to a case study featuring Asplundh Tree Experts that is featured on the Telogis Vendor Solutions page. Might be a helpful resource for you both.

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1. We do have GPS on our entire Bus fleet.
2. We are in the process of upgrading our CAD/AVL system and selected INIT as our provider using the regional radio system to stream some of the data and WiFi routers in our yard to download the rest of the data
3. Our hope is to start interfacing with our FMMS. Our FMMS is written in house and isn't shared with any other agency at this moment.
4. You definitely need to have people with database experience or data mining experience in order to understand the data. You will also need to work with your vendor to figure out what data is available and what you want to track, and how often you want to track that data. You can end up with a huge amount of data in no time if you get carried away
4a. I work for a transit agency, so knowing when a bus has a mechanical failure somewhere and what that failure is would help get our mechanics out to the field with the right equipment. We also rely on location information for our online "Transit Tracker" system that tells riders the arrival time in real time.
4b. We are still working on finalizing what we will be tracking, but our current system is transit focused. So our current system track ons, offs, and location at any given moment. From my Maintenance Analyst stand point, I would like to track average brake and accelerator position/usage to know how roughly our equipment is treated, and recording of any abnormal temperature or pressure readings from the powertrain, and some other information that can be pulled from the J1939 BUS.
4c. We always use our ridership data to see if we should add or drop service. With the recent recession, we were able to quickly pin point which routes would be worth dropping or thinning, and which routes must stay at their current capacity. My hope is to bring more information in regards to equipment performance and identifying equipment issues with live field data.
5. Being a public transit agency, that's hard to for me to say.
6. We do monitor speed, and have been able to use the data to post more realistic transit time tables.
7. For us, it was more of a tool to conduct business, and it has helped us become a transit leader.
8. Some of our operators are still leery of it, but it isn't as big of a deal for them since we've been running the system for years now.
9. Being a public transit agency, I feel it is a must. We are able to know the movements of our ridership and build our service around that knowledge to meet community needs.

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It is hard to answer the questions well over a forum. I think every company uses it in a slightly different and unique way. If either of you would like to talk about it, I would be happy to talk over the phone. Please send me an email and we can set up a time to talk.

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In Snohomish County's fleet we use ~ 50 GPS/AVL units to route Solid Waste vehicles around congested traffic, to monitor PMs due, idle time, and collect mileage remotely. We intend to expand the use to more of our fleet in the future and hope to be able to link the GPS/AVL data to a Road Fund maintenance management software system to track road miles maintained by verious equipment. We also may have Sheriff applications. We have found that these systems have an effective functional life of about 5 years.

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At NV Energy, we have a fully deployed GPS system on 100% of our vehicle and we are starting to turn our attention to equipment and trailers using similar technology. I answered your questions below.

1)Do you have telematics (GPS) technology for your Fleet? If so, do you have on 100% of your fleet or different classifications? If less than 100% installation, how did you determine where to install (ie larger equipment, etc)
Again, Yes. We started with light duty vehicles first because the state had just passed a new law allowing for continuous monitoring GPS devices to meet the requirements for smog checks.

2)What provider do you use?
Network Fleet

3)Does it interface with your Fleet Maintenance Management System (i.e. AssetWorks M5)? Any details would be appreciated.
We use Asset Works Fleet Anywhere product. The interface has been built and is available, but we have not turned on yet due to a pending version change. Having this interface is a requirement going forward.

4)The challenge we’ve heard is the ability to review all the data and use this data to make decisions.
Yes its a lot of data. It is generally not a decision making system, rather a management support system.

a)How did you address the impact to resources necessary to read and use the data? End User group (ie Electric Utilities: Energy Distribution Dept) or Fleet?
As far a fleet, we incorporated it into our practices. In the beginning there is a lot of useless information which you as we learned the system and available data, we were able to limit much of the info through reports and focus on the important information.

b)Could you select priority areas to monitor only (ie speed, brakes, engine, routing, etc). If so, could you share any background on what you chose and why?
We monitor critical engine alerts and emissions. We also watch speeding and idling. Other users monitor routing, geofences, etc. We will be using the hard braking when its available. Currently the system is very good if you set up the alerts you want by each department, however it is limited on “global” alerts and using logic on where to send the alert. We are working on this enhancement with Network Fleet.

c)did you find the benefit and use of the data ongoing or was it used more in the beginning and then use dropped off?
On going, especially as reports and alerts are enhanced.

5)Have you realized quantifiable savings from the technology (extended vehicle lifecycle (ie better utilization, identifying key engine problems before failure? Fuel? Routing? Fleet maintenance?
No, the benefits are distributed to numerous departments, all of which receive some benefit. Fleet has corrected some key engine problems, had improved fuel consumption through idle time reductions (although more work is to be done). It also has a big impact on locating vehicles for services. We use the system to see where the vehicles are before we send mechanics out to look for the equipment.

6)Have you seen any benefits from a safety perspective through monitoring of speed, seatbelt, etc? If so, could you provide some information on percent decrease or examples of cases where telematics was attributed to the reduction in safety incident(s)?
We have received a reduction in speed alerts since send these to the using departments. We are now beginning to send percentage and/or MPH over posted speed limits. We currently do not monitor seatbelts but plan to. We have used the system to do numerous investigations on employee behavior and customer complaints. The system has actually exonerated more employees that it has convicted.

7)How were you able to come to the decision to go forward – business case, ROI ? We see an ROI being difficult unless the end user could use this service for work order routing, etc. Any unique data to consider in the calculation?
We did not use a business case to deploy. We started with vehicles requiring smog checks and used the cost of offset the GPS cost. We then added the GPS system to our specifications for new equipment so the GPS was capitalized as part of the vehicle. We this just filled in the gaps. It did help the decision that we needed a system to support a field workforce management/automated dispatch project, however the project did not provide any funding, just that it had to be done so the expense be born by Fleet or the project.

8)How was the technology accepted by the users (some feel ‘big brother is watching’)
They have not embraced it at all...they do have a feeling of bring bother. However we have notified our union that this data would be used to ensure they were doing their job and were following all policies and procedures.

9)If you had a choice to go to telematics or not, would you do it again? Why or why not?
Yes, definitely. Great system to monitory track your assets. I want to expand this into a system with satellite capability to support our transmission operations. One of our problems is that it is another system to keep in synch with others, so I would look for some way to interface the two. If this can’t be done, ensure the proper procedures are in place.

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@JPellissier - what did you set your initial speeding alerts at? What max speed did you choose to monitor and what amount over posted limit did you select to monitor? Also, if you can share a little about why you selected those thresholds to start from that would be very helpful. We are exploring this at my company and we want to stay in line with best practices. Thanks!

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We have a few highways in Vegas where the speed limit is 75 mph. We set the maximum threshold to 82 mph. This allowed for users to be a few miles over due to differences in speedometers. We set our maximum time for the 82 mph at 6 minutes. This allows for passing. If someone is going over 82 mph for more than 6 minutes, I want to know about it and pass it along to the drivers management.

As far as posted speed limits go, we have two thresholds. We use 20% and 11 mph over. This allows us to catch most of the speeders. Sometimes we get both alerts, but usually it is just one. If the user is in a 25 mph zone and is going 30 mph, I want the alert.

It has been pretty effective at heightening the speeding awareness of our company. We certainly get much less speeding alerts today than we did when we started. We also negotiated the use of our GPS system with the union and know can use it more as a tool to address employee behaviors.

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Two things to keep in mind about speeding alerts: most systems have a 10 - 15 meter radius on GPS signal + they don't distinguish height.

So that means a driver could be going over underpass or under an overpass in which the speed limits are different. Also, there are some services roads that run right along a highway - depending on how narrow the radius of your GPS signal, driver could be on highway vs. service road.

I get the latitude/longitude numbers on my email speeding alerts and cut&paste into Google Maps for street view. Then I give benefit of doubt to driver. You don't want to be wrongfully admonishing somebody if they weren't actually doing anything wrong.

Anonymous (not verified)
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@jpellissier & pebelloli - Thank you for sharing your experience. We have been looking to set a threshhold that allows for speedometer variances as well as passing vehicles or going downhill, but obviously not condoning breaking any stated speed laws. We are also trying to focus on patterns of bahavior as opposed to one-time occurances to prevent wrongful admonishing.

Were there any laws, policies, or best practices you took into account when determining your thresholds? I will be proposing similar ranges to our management, and would like to substantiate my reasoning a little more.

Anonymous (not verified)
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A lot depends on your corporate culture. Insurance companies can be very tough on their own drivers. Pharma companies not so much. I get the Alerts when a driver goes 15mph over the limit or 25% over limit. I also don't discipline when I see 25mph zones on highway because driver is probably trying to merge quickly into traffic vs. intentional speeding. I didn't refer to any laws or policies, just our own common sense. Also, any speeding tickets must be paid by employee; not reimbursable. Hope that helps.

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We set the maximum threshold at 7 mph over the maximum speed limit in the area. It is more important to set the duration than the threshold. We felt that 5 mph over was acceptable and allowing 2 more mph accounted for speedometer variances, downhills, etc. That being said, we were not as concerned for short speeding occurrences. These occur during passing, downhills, and other events. We were concerned when speeders exceed the speed limit for a longer period of time. That is a greater indicator of behavior. We set our duration at 6 minutes. With this duration, we are not alerted to the short bursts of speeds. The same is true for speeding over the posted speed limit. The 6 minutes duration also allows most of the speed occurrences over the posted speed limit not to trigger an alert for overpasses, frontage roads, cross streets, etc.

All this being said, it is important to research all speeding notices to ensure you are not wrongfully admonishing drivers. We have found that the posted speed limit on some streets and roads are not accurate and up to date. The more you use the system, you will start to find trends where certain roads are incorrect. As these are roads come up in alerts, they can be ignored.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to cal me if you have additional questions.