Stagecoach makes multi-million-pound investment in safe eco-driving technology

Leading bus and coach operator Stagecoach has made a multi-million-pound investment in a safety-focused eco-driving system for operations in Scotland, England and Wales.

Starting this month (April), some 13,800 Stagecoach drivers will begin using the GreenRoad system to help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, improve passenger comfort and cut the risk of accidents.

Stagecoach is targeting a 4% reduction in fuel consumption using the technology, which is being rolled out on its fleet of 6,500 buses outside London. It is part of the Group’s five-year sustainability strategy and follows a successful 12-month pilot programme in Cumbria.

A key element of the initiative will be an EcoDriver incentive scheme giving employees the chance to earn ‘green points’ that are converted into financial benefits from a potential £900,000 annual bonus pot.

The 360 system from GreenRoad, which recently became a strategic partner of the Driving for Better Business campaign, uses a dashboard traffic lights-style system to provide drivers with real-time feedback on their driving style, including speed, braking, acceleration, lane-handling and turning.

Driving decisions are responsible for 90% of all accidents and up to 33% of fuel spend, according to research by GreenRoad.

All Stagecoach drivers already undertake a safe, skilled and fuel efficient driving training programme as part of a Certificate of Professional Competence. The GreenRoad system incorporates online reporting, analysis and coaching to help drivers work with their managers to further improve their skills and decision-making.

Stagecoach is also one of the first UK companies to use GreenRoad’s new engine idling solution to further improve fuel performance. It is able to focus on specific vehicles or trips to identify unnecessary idling based on agreed thresholds. The system is able to differentiate this from unavoidable idling that occurs at traffic lights and junctions.

Les Warneford, managing director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “We already invest millions of pounds a year in driver training and new vehicles to offer our customers greener, smarter travel and ensure our drivers provide passengers with safe and comfortable journeys.

“We have worked closely with our employees and trade unions to develop a system that is easy to use and will also reward excellent driving by our driving team. It will help deliver further benefits for our customers, reduce wear and tear on our vehicles, cut the cost of accidents, and help limit the impact of our operations on the environment.”

Stagecoach conducted a pilot project for 90 drivers using 60 buses at its depot in Barrow, Cumbria, from February 2010, which delivered improved fuel consumption. At the same time, the average vehicle miles without an accident rose from 29,400 to 58,000.

Published: 16 April 2011

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