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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Study of the Impact of a Telematics System on Safe and Fuel-efficient Driving in Trucks


To conduct a field operational test (FOT) of truck-based fuel and safety monitoring systems to determine if there are any safety benefits associated with driving behavior that optimizes fuel economy.


Section 5503 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) set aside funding for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to study the application of wireless technology to improve the safety and efficiency of trucking operations. The resulting study, called the Motor Carrier Efficiency Study (MCES), consists of five program elements, one of which is truck-based fuel monitoring and operations management. In September 2009, FMCSA and a contractor, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, awarded a contract to test and evaluate benefits of a fuel monitoring and operations management system.


A Baltimore-based motor carrier fleet volunteered 46 new Volvo trucks, each equipped with Volvo Link and Green Roads Technology, for the FOT. Volvo Link Technology gathered "fuel economy" data. Green Roads Technology gathered "safety" data (data on when and where hard braking, sudden acceleration, etc., occurred). The trucks comprised 24 day cabs and 22 sleeper cabs. Each group was further split evenly into the control and pilot groups; thus, there were 12 control day cabs, 12 pilot day cabs, 11 control sleeper cabs, and 11 pilot sleeper cabs. The FOT consisted of five stages. Stage 1 was the baseline data collection period during which all drivers were unaware that their driving was monitored. In Stage 2, drivers in the pilot groups were made aware of being monitored and provided with feedback. In Stage 3, drivers in the pilot groups were provided with feedback through the in-cab display. In Stage 4, drivers in the pilot groups were scored and coached if their scores were unsatisfactory. In Stage 5, drivers in the pilot group were provided incentives.


The contractor submitted a final reportconfirming that there are safety benefits associated with driving behavior that optimizes fuel economy for a truck.


This project is completed. Period of performance was September 27, 2010–December 31, 2011.


FY 2010: $471,992 - Federal Highway Administration—Section 5503 MCES


The final report was published and can be accessed at


KLG Engineering