Recording and evaluation of vehicle data greatly improves safety and efficiency

How travelling by bus on York Region Transit in Toronto, Canada, just got a lot safer and more profitable thanks to MOBILE-ECO².


  • Unsafe and inefficient driving behaviour of bus drivers affects safety of road users and is a significant cost factor
  • MOBILE-ECO² monitors vehicle condition and promotes cost-effective driving
  • Drivers receive real-time alerts for events such as Harsh Accelaration, Full Throttle, Excessive Idling
  • York Region Transit: average 50% reduction in unsafe and uneconomical vehicle use upon initial introduction of MOBILE-ECO² in December 2017

107,000 people injured and 1,180 deaths. According to the U. S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), this is the number of accidents involving buses over the last ten years in the United States alone. Although the exact value of the lives impacted is priceless, the agency has estimated that such crashes resulted in excess of 60 billion USD in terms of medical, legal, property damage and economic costs, for example. Research indicates that such crashes are perpetuated by drivers who engage in aggressive as well as distracted driving.

Higher costs due to aggressive driver behaviour and idling vehicles

The driving behaviour of bus drivers not only affects the safety of road users – it is also a significant cost factor. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving behaviour can lower fuel economy by roughly 10 to 40 %. This is a massive waste of 190 to 760 million USD every year. Vehicles left running while idling also waste fuel in no small quantities. According to projections, this costs a transport company with 500 buses in its fleet between approx. 81,250 to 162,500 USD per year in additional costs – sums that make quite a dent in the balance sheet. Further, if we compare this to the total number of buses registered in the U.S., which is 888,907, this results in approximately 140 to 280 million USD wasted on idling vehicles per year.

Real-time analysis increases driving safety

Contrary to existing approaches to driving and safety training, the conclusion here is that public transport providers who want to improve safety and reduce fuel costs need to take measures that foster lasting changes to driving behaviour. This is exactly where INIT comes in with MOBILE-ECO². The platform for monitoring vehicle condition and promoting cost-effective driving is used on an ongoing basis as opposed to short periods, which supports a lasting improvement in driving behaviour. On the vehicle side, an on-board computer monitors, analyzes, transmits, and stores all data streams related to vehicle utilisation. Key data streams include vehicle speed, engine speed, throttle/gas pedal position in %, yaw/turn rate, acceleration rate, fuel consumption, vehicle distance travelled as well as vehicle position, to name a few. In addition to vehicle-use data, identifiers are also stored that allow for association to a particular vehicle, driver, trip, block and route. From these data streams, the on-board computer deploys algorithms to detect, present to the driver in realtime, and store the following safety and inefficient vehicle utilisation alerts: Harsh Acceleration, Full Throttle, Harsh Braking, Abrupt Turning, Excessive Speeding and Excessive Idling. Such alerts are provided in real-time to the driver on a mobile data terminal.

Use of data at headquarters

Upon completion of the trip and return to the garage, the on-board computer will upload the entire trip log. This log records the data pertaining to each journey down to the second, along with all the safety and inefficient vehicle utilisation alerts detected. A wide variety of analyses can be performed via a number of dashboards accessible through a web-based user interface. The supplementary reports are delivered automatically by email, providing a regularly updated overview. The insights gained from these analyses can then be used to make training even more targeted and effective.

Case study: York Region Transit

Product enhancements, test phase, and launch of MOBILE-ECO² were carried out in close collaboration with the Toronto-based York Region Transit. First, MOBILE-ECO² was installed in all new vehicles. Integration into older vehicles is currently in progress. The project has not yet reached its conclusion – for example, the results have not yet been integrated into the training programmes – but the data collected so far is already showing some promising results. Upon initial introduction to the (YRT) garages in December 2017, they have seen an average 50 % reduction in unsafe and uneconomical vehicle use. Additional benefits of this programme include reduced fuel consumption, maintenance costs and noise impacts – far-reaching improvements being achieved in a relatively short period of time. Such benefits would not be realised if the MOBILE-ECO² system was not installed on vehicles to provide collection of data, real-time alerts and analytical reports that deliver actionable information to ensure that safer, more efficient management of resources and better driver support can be accomplished.


Heiko Bauer