FMCSA Representatives Provide Updates on Datasets, Projects
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WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is preparing to make trucking industry registration data available through its Analysis & Information Online repository.
Analysis & Information Online is the agency’s resource containing various datasets, such as crash statistics and safety and performance information.
Olu Ajayi, Analysis & Information program manager, said he anticipates the registration data will be available within the next month. Ajayi was one of several speakers who delivered research updates at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting Jan. 14.
The data will be drawn from information that carriers routinely submit to FMCSA. Ajayi demonstrated that users will be able to view numbers of registered carriers and drivers. They will be able to further explore data by viewing which carriers are for-hire and private and breaking down vehicle type, such as combination trucks and motorcoaches.
Additionally, visitors to the site will be able to view figures from states and several different countries. They also will be able to specify cargo classification, including oil field equipment, livestock and coal.
“When you can see a bunch of data within a dashboard, it makes a lot more intuitive sense,” Ajayi said.
Theresa Hallquist, manager of FMCSA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, delivered an update on some of her program’s work. The program, administered through the John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass., is meant to stimulate innovation and encourage businesses to create solutions for research and development needs.
One highlight project is a multimodal driver distraction and fatigue detection and warning system. Hallquist said this system uses different measurements, including driver pose, percentage of eye closure, yawning and erratic driving, to get a complete picture of a driver’s exhaustion level.
FMCSA is also pressing on with a project to promote advanced driver assistance systems, which was announced Oct. 5. Nicole Michel, a project manager within FMCSA’s Research Division, said the project will assess technologies that have been categorized into four buckets: active warning systems, active braking systems, active steering systems and camera monitoring systems. Michel anticipates the ADAS project will take about two years.
Joining FMCSA officials during the session was Rebecca Brewster, president of the American Transportation Research Institute. Brewster informed attendees that ATRI has created a tool that’s meant to assess the safety of drivers. The institute completed initial testing with about 100 drivers of various ages.
Recruiting and retaining drivers is an important issue for the trucking industry, which faces a nationwide driver shortage. American Trucking Associations has reported the industry was short 60,000 drivers as of last year. The driver shortage was the leading problem on ATRI’s Top Industry Issues report, issued last October.
Beyond that, the industry grapples with an aging workforce. Brewster reported that a substantial percentage of the trucking industry workforce falls in the 45-54 year-old age group.
“One of the issues we’re facing as an industry is the age makeup of our workforce,” Brewster said. “We have a real issue we’re facing as an industry.”
Brewster’s presentation occurred one day after ATRI issued analysis on the role of government activities in automated trucking. She mentioned upcoming releases will include research on tolls and the nation’s top truck bottlenecks.
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