More than distance: the evolution of truck routing technology

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Updated Feb 10, 2014

“Static” is the word John White uses to describe truck routing before the technology in the office and in the cab could match the reality on the ground — where the rubber meets the road.

oorbig (2)White, the chief marketing officer of U.S. Xpress, says that for years he and other transportation professionals just assumed that the mileages and routes from Rand McNally’s IntelliRoute or ALK’s PC Miler software packages were the best and most efficient way to route trucks.

“That’s not always the case,” he says — at least not before the software began to incorporate more than distance in its route calculations. The shortest, practical, 53′ trailer and other common designations used for truck route and mileage standards are not, by themselves, the  most cost-efficient option.

“Dynamic” is how White describes truck routing technology today. U.S. Xpress and many other fleets now use technology that considers the cost of time, fuel, tolls and other variables to route trucks. This evolution has made it possible to get trucks from point A to B in the most efficient way possible.

The most efficient route between two points may change from week to week or even day to day to achieve minimum cost.

“It is critically important to have true activity-based costing in a real-time environment,” he says.

Finding the least-cost route is only half the battle. The rest is all about execution. Integrated routing, navigation and monitoring applications can fit the bill by helping drivers adhere to the prescribed routes.

For more details of how modern routing technology can reduce the cost of operations, click on one or more of the following topics:

Least-cost routing>>

Going out of route? Not so fast>>

Zeroing in on tolls>>