In a 2011 article for Wired Magazine titled Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops, Thomas Goetz describes the 2003 struggle of local authorities in Garden Grove, California to get drivers speeding through school zones to slow down. Conventional attempts to slow down traffic, such as increasing the size and brightness of the signage had minimal effect. However, in several zones, dynamic speed displays were installed, which caused drivers to slow down by an average of 14 percent, despite having the same redundant information already visible on their speedometer.
A feedback loop involves four distinct stages. First comes the data: A behavior must be measured, captured, and stored. This is the evidence stage. Second, the information must be relayed to the individual, not in the raw-data form in which it was captured but in a context that makes it emotionally resonant. This is the relevance stage. But even compelling information is useless if we don’t know what to make of it, so we need a third stage: consequence. The information must illuminate one or more paths ahead. And finally, the fourth stage: action. There must be a clear moment when the individual can recalibrate a behavior, make a choice, and act. Then that action is measured, and the feedback loop can run once more, every action stimulating new behaviors that inch us closer to our goals.
The Evidence Stage
The Geotab GO6 hardware paired with MyGeotab software already handles the first stage, the evidence stage, in the feedback loop automatically. Driver behavior is measured from a variety of sensors on the GO6 device, stored in a raw form, and processed. It’s during this processing that the data flows through a sophisticated rules engine, and a fleet manager can set up rules to redirect that data.
The Feedback Loop
The second stage in the feedback loop, the relevance stage, involves the data being passed to the driver through device beeping, or, if your company uses our Garmin solution, through a configurable Garmin text message sent directly to the driver’s Garmin device.
Consequence and Action
The third and fourth stages in this feedback loop, the consequence and action stages, are handled by Geotab’s powerful reporting. Any instances of aggressive driving behavior can not only be transmitted in real-time, but also can be emailed to both a driver and a manager – helping the driver correct her or her on-road activity accordingly.
Geotab’s end-to-end, hardware and software solution, uses the concepts described by Goetz to make the roads safer and drivers more productive by involving the drivers themselves in the process. To learn more about driver safety and our feedback loop, click here.