The American Transportation Research Institute is asking fleets to provide data from their electronic logging devices to be used in confidential research for studying policy issues in trucking.
ATRI’s board of directors approved the idea this summer after ATRI and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration leadership discussed setting up a third-party clearinghouse, where the information would be obtained, stored and studied.
ATRI Vice President Dan Murray told Transport Topics about 50 firms are participating in the early stages of the program, and the organization is optimistic that hundreds more companies will get involved, making for a more robust database.
“One of the most important things, and it is low-hanging fruit for us in this initiative, is to develop a really substantial assessment of driver detention,” Murray said. “Our friends in the shipper/receiver community, they’re frankly unaware how long these drivers are being detained at their facilities. And with hours-of-service ELD data, we can say, ‘Not only was he at your facility for 2½ or four hours, he lost a substantial amount of his driving time, and it cost the driver X number of dollars.’”
ATRI plans to hold a webinar later this month for companies already in the program. Another orientation session will be held early next year for fleets that register in the coming months.
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Currently, ATRI confidentially manages in real time GPS information from an estimated 850,000 trucks, using the research to develop industry policy positions on issues such as truck parking, locating traffic bottlenecks and congestion, and border-crossing data.
“When we start to blend the ELD data with other data — our operational cost data, our congestion data — it allows us to do a lot of very robust studies,” Murray said. “What is the impact of driver detention on hours of service? What is the impact of traffic congestion on hours of service? Does that justify more flexibility in the hours of service? Because, we’ll know [a driver] lost 46 minutes of drive time because of congestion, or four hours at a shipping facility. You can’t argue with the real-world data coming out of an ELD and the consequences of what is coming out concerning a driver and a truck.”
“Since the implementation of ELDs and their widespread adoption, we now have a trove of information that can be very useful in guiding regulatory decisions,” ATRI board member Andrew Boyle told Transport Topics. “What’s vital is to have a trusted third party be the keeper of that data with no ulterior motive.”
ATRI said it would like to have 10-20% of the industry participating in the program, but initially to make it successful, it needs a wide array of trucking companies from sectors including truckload, less-than-truckload, specialized, flatbed and tank carriers to participate. The organization also wants companies that specifically run different-length routes to deepen its database.
ATRI said it is ensuring that companies that participate in the program will have their data protected and that the information won’t be used by any organization that competes with the trucking industry or for commercial purposes.
“We’ll sign these confidentiality agreements to ensure that this carrier data is used appropriately,” Murray said, “and it is kept far, far away from entities and purposes that do not benefit the trucking industry.”