The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) has released its 2011 Annual Urban Mobility report. They have improved their methodology and expanded congestion coverage, so expect more comprehensive and consistent results. This report provides the reader with information on long-term and recent congestion trends, congestion comparisons and improvement strategies. The bottom line of this report is that it reinforces the importance and value of public transit for today and tomorrow.
To read the full report, or to get congestion data for your city go here.
Here’s a helpful demo that shows you the many benefits of automating your mobile workforce. Eliminate inefficiencies and get a clearer picture of exactly what your mobile workers are doing and where your vehicles are. From speed and idling monitoring to real-time vehicle monitoring, these are just some of the ways mobile field services technology can be used to boost revenue, increase productivity and reduce operating costs. In general, this technology gives you a better way to manage your fleet, which is good for business. See how it’s done here.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the feasibility of using consumer-grade tablets like the Samsung Galaxy as a fleet management tool in the vehicle. Their low price point makes consumer-grade tablets an attractive option but the non-ruggedized nature of the devices can cause extensive problems and safety risks in a vehicle. Here are some points taken from the Samsung Galaxy User’s Guide that outline significant risks to beware of before you choose to use Samsung Galaxy tablets in the harsh vehicle environment:
• Electronic devices in a motor vehicle may malfunction due to the radio frequency of your device. Do not use your device near other electronic devices. Most electronic devices use radio frequency signals. Your device may interfere with other electronic devices. Electronic devices in your vehicle may malfunction due to radio frequency of your device.
• Do not store your device in hot or cold areas. Use your device at -20 degrees Celsius to 45 degrees Celsius. YOUR DEVICE CAN EXPLODE IF LEFT INSIDE A CLOSED VEHICLE, AS THE INSIDE TEMPERATURE CAN REACH UP TO 80 degrees Celsius.
• Do not use your device during a thunderstorm. Your device may malfunction and your risk of electric shock is increased.
• Do not use your device near a pacemaker…your device can interfere with the pacemaker.
• Do not drop your device or cause impacts to your device. The screen of your device may be damaged. If bent or deformed, your device may be damaged or parts may malfunction.
• Do not use or store your device in dusty, dirty areas. Dust can cause your device to malfunction.
• Turn off the device in potentially explosive environments. Always comply with regulations, instructions and signs in potentially explosive environments. Do not use your device at refuelling points (service stations), near fuels or chemicals, and at blasting areas.
• Do not store or carry flammable liquids, gases, or explosive materials in the same compartment as the device, its parts, or accessories.
• Install mobile devices and equipment with caution. Ensure that any mobile devices or related equipment installed in your vehicle are securely mounted. Avoid placing your device and accessories near or in an air bag deployment area. Improperly installed wireless equipment can cause serious injury when air bags inflate rapidly.
It seems like consumer-grade tablets are becoming more and more prevalent in the vehicle and are being used in harsh vehicle environments. It easy to see why: the upfront costs are low and consumer-grade tablets are easy to procure. While the benefits of adding a consumer-grade tablet to your organization seem obvious on first glance, once you look a little deeper, you might want to reconsider your purchasing decision.
One of the biggest factors in revisiting your mobile device purchase is its ruggedness. Having to replace consumer-grade devices will drive up your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as well as company downtime when you have to replace your devices. In fact, the general lifespan of a consumer device is between 12 and 18 months. Exactly how well-equipped are these consumer devices for rugged working conditions? Here’s a video demonstrating a simple drop test comparison of three of the most popular tablets. The results might surprise you— or at least make you think twice about deploying a consumer-grade tablet in the vehicle.
Rugged devices designed specifically for harsh working environments tell a much different story. According to a study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC), it is not unusual for a smart phone or consumer tablet to have to be replaced two or even three times before a rugged device would need to be replaced. In the study, VDC found after 3 years 82.6% of consumer devices had to be replaced compared to just 18.2% of rugged devices.
It is important to consider also that capabilities such as card swipes, RFID readers, vehicle mounting solutions and engine diagnostic modules are usually built into rugged devices, which will keep your TCO to a minimum. In addition, the software running on the device may not be tailored to your fleet’s needs, and the cost of having specially written one-off applications can increase the TCO significantly.
Charley’s Taxi, in Honolulu, HI has recently added a sophisticated automated dispatch system and in-vehicle computers to their 200-vehicle fleet. As a result of adding this technology, drivers get to passengers faster, waste less fuel, and increase the number of trips they can take each day.
Don’t miss our final session with MyWebinars, Strategies for Managing a Safer, More Efficient Fleet,on September 14, 2011 at 3pm EST. Fleet safety is a top issue facing fleet managers. This webinar will show you strategies that can be put to use to make fleets and drivers safer, while improving efficiency.
Learn more about:
- The cost of driver distraction and liability
- Keeping Lone and remote workers safe
- Electronic On-board Recorders (EOBRs) and Hours of Service (HOS) requirements
- Managing poor driver behaviors
A blog for those of us who live and work in fleet management. Topics include engine diagnostics, driver safety, mobile workforce management, CAD/AVL, vehicle maintenance, truck distribution, global computing, work order management, and field services.
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