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Managing and Improving Driver Behaviour

The problem

Levels of carbon emissions in the UK have been well documented, especially in recent years. When all factors such as business and power are taken into account, emissions are decreasing year on year. Transport is only one contributing factor, but its share of the overall problem is growing. Since 1978, CO2 emissions within transport have been steadily increasing with a slight dip in recent years due government intervention such as The Department for Transport’s efforts at MOT tests coupled with a rise in vehicle manufacturer consciousness. However, it’s worth noting that a majority of these initiatives have been focussed on cars in preference to larger vehicle types.

When we look at the effect of HGV and LDV commercial vehicles on carbon emissions in road transport over the same 30 year period, we see that their influence is increasing year on year, giving commercial vehicles a substantial and growing, slice of the CO2 pie.

With a variety of UK and EU initiatives and objectives in place, companies are now recognising that reducing emissions within their fleet is a viable way to reduce their carbon footprint… and save money. Skanska’s Green Initiative plays a huge part in the company’s corporate social responsibility programme. As a forward thinking company, Skanska recognise the impact that driver behaviour has on fleet emissions and the cost to the business.

The solution

Skanska have implemented a telematics system to monitor, manage and improve driver behaviour using engine telemetry data with a view to reducing fuel consumption.

Driver behaviour is the key factor where significant CO2 and cash savings can be achieved.

From July to September an 8 week study of 11 transit van equivalent LGVs was conducted. For the duration of the study period the sample vehicles undertook a routine mix of work representative of operational requirements. In order to ensure that the vehicle activity could be compared directly, no modifications (mechanical, aerodynamic or other) were made to vehicles and in addition, the mix and geographical location of work was consistent across the period. This way, individual fluctuations within the group could safely be attributed to driver behaviour.

The pilot highlighted where a single aspect of driver behaviour could be isolated as the main influence on carbon emissions. The driving behaviour analysis demonstrated the impact of excessive idling on fuel consumption. Idling delivers zero miles per gallon and increases engine wear and tear.

The driving behaviour also illustrated the impact of harsh acceleration on fuel consumption. Harsh acceleration results in un-burnt fuel being ejected through the exhaust system.

The result

Skanska have monitored potential CO2 and fuel savings within their fleet and are now looking to set KPI targets.

The telematics solution facilitates the effective management of driving behaviour, through which fuel consumption can be improved.

Skanska are targeting an annual fuel reduction of up to 10.3% which equates to approximately 1.46 tonnes of CO2 or around £640 per vehicle. As the study below indicates that the actual saving could be as much as 17.5% though this is most likely to be achieved over a longer period with regular driver coaching and full driver cooperation.

What does this mean to Skanska?

One of Skanska’s strategic objectives is to reduce energy use and associated CO2 emissions globally. As one of the top ‘Times Green Companies’, Skanska will see significant reductions in fleet carbon emissions. With the telematics system installed as one of their green initiatives, Skanska can expect to consolidate on their current position.

In addition to the environmental benefit, Skanska can expect to save between £640 – £1,000** in fuel per van, over the coming year, achieving a favourable return on the initial capital outlay.

Boyd Neal, Business Manager at Skanska Utilities adds, “We at Skanska are wholly committed to our green agenda and have found that by implementing a tracking and telematics system we have been able to keep in line with our fleet company policy…”

**Based on average UK Pump Price – September 2010