When it comes to obtaining ROI information with GPS fleet management technology, the lowest hanging fruit typically revolves around fuel savings by reducing idling time. Idle time is defined as the duration of time the engine is running and the vehicle is not moving. When looking at total idle time, the lower amount is better, right? Maybe, but maybe not.
Let’s look at an example. Driver A has 300 total minutes of total idle time and Driver B has 250 minutes of total idle time. If the lowest total idle time is better, Driver B is doing a better job, right? In this example, no.
To fully understand and address the idle time, we need to break down the idle time into three segments:
1. Before trip idle time
2. During trip idle time
3. After trip idle time
Take a look at the colored chart below. The majority of preventable and actionable idle time happens during the before trip and after trip segments. This idle time can be reduced by the use of idle reduction campaigns which establish peer pressure, one-on-one communications with drivers, and continuous feedback using idle reports.
Idle time can be reduced by instilling a culture that prohibits the running of the engine during pre-inspections, filling out of paper work, or any activities where the running of the engine is not necessary.
Idle time during the trip can be used in route planning because it can indicate travel conditions for a given route or area. Idle time during the trip is normally attributed to traffic conditions, traffic signals, and driving conditions. While drivers most likely do not have direct control of this idle time, the route and time-of-day can be evaluated to ensure travel delays (idle time) is reduced as much as possible.
After looking at the segments, Driver A has 100 minutes of preventable idle time while Driver B has 200 minutes of preventable idle time. In this example, Driver A is doing a better job of controlling preventable idle time.