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30.04.2015

Staying informed behind the wheel: mobile tools for freight transport

Image | begemot_dn 

With the rise of technology applied to mobility, citizens’ habits and customs have changed. In the retail sector, for example, the business model has had to adapt to consumers who are able to shop 24/7. Internet and mobile applications have made it increasingly commonplace for users, instead of actually visiting stores, to receive their purchases at home. And a direct consequence of this behaviour is an inevitable increase in the activity of transport workers, those responsible for providing this service.

21st-century transport workers have available to them many smart tools to make their jobs easier and free of delays. Among them there are many applications developed to cover their most immediate needs: to effectively compile all their records, plan the best routes, and know the best places to refuel at all times.

On the road

On their trips on roads and highways, moving goods from one country to another, carriers have at their disposal several applications that can be of use. Big Road Free Truck Driver Log Book, for example, is an app that replaces those cumbersome sheets of paper with a digital journal in which drivers can update their log books. It is easy to use, saves time, registers hours of service, and, in addition, automatically sends log entries to the company. Using the data from all their drivers’ logs, transport companies can draw valuable conclusions serving to optimise their businesses.

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Image | Big Road Free Truck Driver Log Book

Petrol refuelling is an aspect of great importance for carriers. In this area, apps like Fuel Daw and Fuelio allow an exhaustive tracking of everything related to the subject: how many times one refuels, amount consumed, money spent, etc.

Finally, on their trips transport workers also appreciate any tool that provides them with information on their current locations. Here an important role can be played by applications like,  Truck Stops and Travel Plazas, currently available for the U.S.A., which offers information on every stop specially equipped for freight transport, and Around Me, which, via GPS, shows drivers all the services of interest near their locations. 

In the city

Driving a truck or van inside a city can be maddening, especially during rush hour. This is why public bodies are enacting policies that help to channel all traffic in a more effective way.

In Barcelona, for example, there are 45,000 loading and unloading operations daily, affecting the 9,000 spaces designated for this purpose in the city. Until now the system to control parking in the Urban Freight Distribution area (known in Spanish as DUM) consisted of an analogical method: a cardboard wheel that measured the 30 minutes of authorised parking. The authorities, however, realised that there was much abuse of these spaces, which were used by standard vehicles, vehicles without the time wheel, and vehicles with the disc that were loading or unloading longer than the time permitted.

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Image | ÁreaDUM

In order to come up with a solution to this problem the City of Barcelona has created an app, currently in the trial phase, to improve the management of loading and unloading zones. The drivers of trucks, vans and 2-seat transport vehicles are to download the ÁreaDUM application and register in order to use it. As of 1 July 2015 this is expected to replace the traditional time wheel, and carriers who do not have a smartphone may use the service via SMS.

This smart solution implemented in Barcelona will also furnish the city government with more information on the utilisation of loading and unloading spaces, in this way verifying which are taken, underused, or overused, so as to improve the parking places made available. In the future the same app is also expected to provide information on the availability of spaces in such a way as to spare carriers and delivery drivers from having to drive around, in this way improving traffic circulation.

Mobile technology is responding to meet the needs of new users and consumers. And, little by little, society is also adapting to it.