Gaming drivers for MPG

Driver incentive programs are often difficult to administer and deliver mixed results. The success of any program ultimately depends on getting drivers to engage and build on the momentum.

Capturing drivers’ interest is easy, at least initially. Face-to-face meetings are effective, but since drivers are independent by nature and highly mobile, such opportunities are limited. Engaging drivers online and through the devices they carry in their pockets, therefore, might be your best strategy to sustain interest.

In the February issue of CCJ, an article called “Game Time” explores the growing trend of using technology and “gamification” to engage drivers. It starts by getting information in the face of drivers through websites and mobile apps. The information becomes more interactive with competition and other game elements such as points, badges and trophies for achievements.

Recently, SmartDrive Systems entered the gaming scene with a new fuel program. The program uses a mobile app for drivers’ Apple or Android phones and tablets. The app is designed to keep drivers’ attention using an intuitive workflow that shows drivers how their performance compares with peers.

SmartDrive has offered a driver performance system for eight years. Its in-cab device gives drivers real-time feedback on their driving using three lights — green, yellow and red. The device has a cab-facing and road-facing camera to capture video snippets when triggered by a risky event such as hard brake, swerving, or a collision.

The system sends the video and vehicle data to a server through cellular or Wi-Fi communications. Fleet managers can review individual events and recommendations to reduce risk through an online portal.

Smart Drive created the new Fuel Economy mobile app in line with its strategy to target root-cause behaviors that impact driver performance. It already offered management reports and dashboards for fleet managers but besides the lights in the cab, no information was in the hands of the driver, until now.

Drivers see key metrics and trends for MPG along with the ability to drill down into the specific areas and maneuvers that negatively impacted their MPG. Drivers can compare their scores to peers. As their driving improves relative to their peers, they receive digital trophies, badges and rewards. Fleets can customize their cash incentives or rewards to fit with the mobile app.

The mobile app uses a performance-based workflow. It begins with a dashboard that shows drivers their weekly MPG performance. Next, they can touch a button to see how they can improve MPG. The app shows details for what lowered their score, such as a hard acceleration(s), over idling, speeding and over-revving the engine. They can drill down to see where on the map each event occurred.

SmartDrive has incorporated educational materials into the app as well. Drivers can watch short videos and view driving tips on how to improve performance.

Gamification is here to stay. Technology companies and fleets will continue to use these automated tools to monitor, engage and educate drivers on ways to improve their performance.