What’s missing from your drivetime calculations?

by David Cockrell

Check you have the 5 key elements in place

Calculating drivetime has critical impacts on businesses of different kinds. Which of these do you depend on drivetime insight for?

  • Understanding the reach of your businesses
  • Predicting fleet costs and setting customer charges
  • Setting realistic SLAs
  • Managing efficient vehicle and driver operations
  • Minimising delays
  • Allocating customers to supply points

Accuracy really matters in these situations. Even small miscalculations can have a major knock-on effect on costs, efficiencies and customer loyalty. Poor drivetime planning puts pressure on staff, damages relationships and reputations. It can jeopardise business critical commercial projections and make the difference between a profitable operation and a business on the brink.

Over decades of working with transport, distribution and destination sector clients, we’ve built a deep understanding of what really counts when it comes to effective and trusted drivetime planning systems and methods. These are the five key capabilities we believe you should consider when selecting this business-critical system.

Does your current system do everything you need? Evaluate it and your replacement system shortlist carefully: choose a solution that delivers effectively against all five of these criteria. And don’t forget that as your business grows and your fleet changes, you may need to accommodate new technologies and practices, such as electric vehicles or European route planning.

1) Provides a reliable and up-to-date view of the road network

Things change all the time on the road – from road layouts and one-way systems to temporary diversions and restrictions. Your drivetime system is only as good as the real-time data its routing calculations rely on. Look for frequent updates that are immediately taken into account to modify routes and predictions.

2) Accommodates vehicle restrictions

Every fleet is different and not all vehicles are equal on the road. Height, weight, width, load type and vehicle class affect the routes each one can take. They also affect costs passing through tolls and metered zones – these may change at different times of day or night. You need to define rules for your fleet for optimal routing decisions, balancing cost, time and overall fleet capacity. For electric vehicles, you need to take into account range and charging locations.

3) Gives up-to-date visibility of road speed restrictions

Fixed speed limits on the national road network are just one factor. Vehicles might have their own limits below the national limit. Volume of traffic and congestion at different times will affect the actual speed of travel. You need up-to-the-minute road speed data and history to be able to predict routes with the greatest accuracy and make changes in response to real-time events and changes.

4) Delivers pinpoint accuracy with geocoding

Using postcode sectors (such as TW8 8) or unit (complete) postcodes aren’t always sufficiently accurate. In some countries, these codes don’t give granular enough information to get the location right. A system that can use geocoding information from other sources will maintain optimal efficiency in your drivetime planning.

5)  Uses all data to deliver actionable insight in the right formats

You need your drivetime software to bring all this information together and process the data optimally, whether you want to produce routes, drivetime matrices or catchments. It should be flexible and easy to control, so you can set your own rules and parameters. You may need to produce outputs for other systems to use or to send to mobile devices: make sure your chosen software can integrate and deliver the formats you need.

If you’d like more in-depth information about what each capability means in practice, download FAST TRACK TO THE PERFECT DRIVETIME