Truck Routing Software
Not long ago, driving to an unfamiliar location posed a much greater challenge than it does now. Drivers relied on maps and written directions to determine and follow the best route to their destination. Today, most drivers depend on Google Maps and other online mapping systems, practically eliminating the need for paper maps. GPS-based navigation applications have made it easier than ever for drivers to find their way to new or far-away destinations. While Google Maps and similar applications are the perfect solution for personal navigation, managing and routing a fleet comes with very different needs which Google Maps is currently unable to satisfy.
Fleet Routing Limitations
To begin with one of the most obvious examples of fleet routing requirements, long-haul semi-trucks often embark on days-long cross-country journeys. These trips must be carefully coordinated to reduce the amount of total mileage, ensure that the entire route is truck-friendly, and meet scheduling requirements. Google Maps may be a good option for truckers on long stretches of interstate, but it does not fully account for the size of the vehicle or for truck-restricted routes. A trucker relying solely on Google Maps may encounter a low overpass or dangerously narrow lanes, forcing them to reroute and expend more energy, time, and money. Furthermore, cross-country trucking routes usually require many planned stops, including overnight stops. Google Maps allows users to add a maximum of ten stops to their routes. Ten stops may be more than enough for personal travel, but Google Maps’ ten-stop limit does not meet the needs of many fleet vehicle routes.
Long-haul trucking is not the only sector of the fleet management industry that requires routing capabilities beyond what Google Maps and similar applications offer. Heavy-duty and industrial fleet markets also require advanced routing methods. In the waste management industry, for instance, fleet managers seek to minimize the number of trucks on the road as well as the total mileage travelled across the fleet. Managers of refuse fleets must consider customers’ locations in relation to one another in determining the best routes for maximizing customer volume per truck. They must also determine how to divide these optimal routes between trucks, as well as how many trucks must be deployed to meet demand. With so many variables to consider, fleet managers’ best option is to utilize advanced truck routing software that can handle all factors involved in routing decisions, well beyond the capabilities of applications like Google Maps.
Telematics Solutions for Truck Routing
A good fleet telematics program collects and reports data on nearly every aspect of trucking operations, including location, functionality, downtime, and much more. These data reports give fleet operators a better view of what their fleets are doing well and what could be improved, including routing. Many recent iterations of telematics programs have also integrated truck routing software into their services, making fleet managers’ jobs even easier as intelligent software takes on most of the burden of optimizing routes.
As of December 2017, most commercial motor vehicles in the United States are required by law to have an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) onboard. While not all ELDs are part of a complex telematics system, the ELD mandate helped to further popularize connected fleet technology. After the mandate, many fleets opted to bundle ELDs and telematics services, and for good reason. Easier and better route optimization is just one of many benefits fleet managers can derive from telematics solutions. In addition to the cost savings brought about by their routing capabilities, connected vehicle services also promote driver safety, track and report trucks’ maintenance needs, and help the entire fleet operate as smoothly and efficiently as possible.