Traffic congestion can be a nightmare for fleet managers, and fleet management company Eqstra says that with traffic volumes increasing across South African roads, time spent on the road equals money and time. For fleet managers, this can impact their return on investment (ROI).
In 2016, South Africa was rank seventh in the world for traffic congestion, with Cape Town being the worst, followed by Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria.
Eqstra said the problem is not about to go away very soon as a 7% vehicle increase is expected between Johannesburg and Pretoria every year and the rate of transport infrastructure projects cannot meet capacity needs at the same pace.
Time spent on the road also has a direct impact on one’s wallet.
Research by the South African Journal of Economics has shown that in Johannesburg, drivers lose around three hours and 40 minutes every day, which can be equated to approximately R100 per person, per hour. Congested roads, and if in poor condition, can both have a chokehold on economic growth.
Planning traffic routes and driver schedules are also important in order to try and avoid peak traffic times and allow for less congested routes. This has to be carefully done as Eqstra says that late or missed deliveries can cause unhappy clients, and make a company look unprofessional.
Eqstra also said that staying in control with smart systems can help manage a fleet owner’s bottom line by using GPS-based platforms such as telematic devices. These can analyse real-time data about traffic and can help plan routes to avoid traffic jams or accidents. They can also plan an alternative route, should you be stuck in a jam, and estimate a delivery time to help you keep your customer in the loop.
Data can also be used to plan routes by predicting long term traffic patterns. That way, fleet managers can employ a reactive approach to random events that cause traffic congestion, as well as have a proactive approach towards traffic that you know will be there.
Modelling and analytics can observe the day to day build-up of traffic during peak hours and allow fleet managers to plan routes for their drivers that are more time and fuel efficient. “Having a planned route also guides your drivers so that they do not get lost or waste time: a win-win situation,” Eqstra said.
“The overall message about telematics is that you maintain perfect control over fleet and driver behaviour,” Eqstra added. “Not only can you analyse information about traffic patterns and plan routes, you can also obtain a wealth of other information about idle times, speeding, fuel use and even the finer aspects of how drivers take corners, pull off and brake. All of this allows you to address problems and make the adjustments that you need to keep your fleet running like a well-oiled machine.”