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Inside the impact of INIT’s MOBILEefficiency on fuel and energy consumption

Whether it be in cold Canada or sunny Salzburg, INIT’s MOBILEefficiency software assistance system is saving bus operators money each day

Massive increases in costs are forcing many public transport companies to scrutinise their processes and look for ways to make savings.

At the forefront of this is fuel and energy consumption within fleets. Whether it be route, load or weather conditions, there are many factors that influence a vehicle’s consumptions.

However, one factor that can be tweaked is the behaviour of the driver. It’s a premise that INIT is delving into with its software assistance system MOBILEefficiency.

Energy-efficient, cost-saving driving

A study by the US Department of Energy shows just how great the savings potential is here: according to the study, aggressive driving behaviour leads to higher fuel consumption of between 10 and 40 per cent.

At today’s prices, such a high figure can quickly cause costs to explode for operators, with vehicle wear and tear prices being even higher. INIT says it’s not just inappropriate driving – vehicles with the engine running at dwell times also quickly cause a significant increase in fuel costs.

To promote safe and energy-efficient vehicle operation, INIT has developed MOBILEefficiency, a powerful assistance system. The program ensures that buses are operated economically at all times to lower operating costs.

The brand says MOBILEefficiency is suitable for any vehicle type, whether it be electric, diesel or hydrogen. Regardless of the vehicle manufacturer, the system supports all vehicles in the fleet.

The basis of INIT’s MOBILEefficiency is continuous data recording. The on-board computer records all of the vehicle’s data streams, such as speed, engine rotational speed (rpm), acceleration, position, distance travelled and energy consumption.

In addition, identification data is stored that can be assigned to a specific vehicle, driver, trip, block, section and route, while mechanisms can be designed to protect personal data.

With the help of algorithms, the on-board computer recognises dangerous or inefficient driving behaviour, so-called events and provides the driver with real-time feedback via a driver terminal about excessive engine speeds, excessively long dwell times with the engine running, strong acceleration or braking processes or exceeding the defined speed.

In this way, the system supports the driver directly during operation and helps to optimise driving style.

Simple data utilisation and evaluation

The on-board computer transmits a second-by-second log of the entire journey with all data and events to the central system. Numerous dashboards are available via a web user interface and enable a wide range of analyses (profiles for drivers [also anonymised], vehicles, blocks and routes).

Reports can be viewed, but can also be distributed automatically by e-mail and provide bus operators with a regular overview of data flows and driving behaviour. The insights gained from the analyses are then used to train drivers so that they can drive even more economically and safely in the future.

Evaluation of driving behaviour, including energy consumption and dwell times with the engine running at York Region Transport. Image: YRT

INIT says the data is also a useful aid for planners, dispatchers and analysts, as they can also be used to support the planning of future journeys while also providing an overview of the most suitable vehicle types for selected routes.

MOBILEefficiency is also an important planning aid in the field of e-mobility, as it records real energy consumption and driving situations in conjunction with influencing factors such as vehicle type, topology, route and weather conditions.

In this way, it provides important analysis and empirical values on energy requirements, from which information on the expected range of e-buses can be derived.

This also opens up potential savings, as knowing the range means operators can avoid unnecessary planning reserves. In addition, the most energy-efficient vehicles can then be used on the most energy-intensive routes – this also saves costs.

MOBILEefficiency is in use in Europe in places such as Hamburg, Germany and Salzburg, Austria, as well as in North America. A Canadian transport company is a good example of how the solution can increase efficiency and safety.

York Region Transit (YRT) from the Greater Toronto Area has the system set up so that drivers see warning icons on a mobile data terminal in their buses that alert them in real time to hectic cornering, heavy acceleration, too much throttle, abrupt braking and (after three minutes) idling with the engine running.

The software support quickly had a positive impact on driving style. Unsafe and inefficient driving behaviour fell by 75 per cent in a short space of time and unnecessary downtimes were reduced by up to 40 per cent within the first four months – INIT says this is proof of how successfully MOBILEefficiency supports safe and economical driving behaviour and therefore helps to save fuel and costs.

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