Safetrax introduces eSafe – Driver Behaviour and Performance Monitoring Solution

Most fleet management solutions do not have a comprehensive driver behaviour monitoring solution. As a transport manager, whether managing a small or large fleet you would be interested in knowing who your best and least performing drivers are and discern what makes them perform better or worse.With a new advanced Israeli GPS module which has additional sensors and ports, we have been able to capture gamut of important signals which has enabled us to build a comprehensive driver behaviour monitoring solution. We are proud that is the first of its kind solution offered in the Corporate and School Bus Transportation segment.

Key Features

Blog-Banner-11A Track up to 20 different manoeuvres eSafe can record a broad range of driving manoeuvres such as harsh braking, swerving, sudden acceleration, sudden lane change, etc. The multitude of data will help in comprehensive driver management and vehicle maintenance.Dashboard Rich visual dashboard with a plethora of charts will help in instant visualization of all the driver performance parameters and the vehicle condition. Armed with this new data and insights you can significantly optimize the performance of your fleet.Scorecard Scorecard helps you identify your best and least performing drivers and reward or take corrective actions. Depending on your particular fleet goal, such as safety or fleet productivity, you can define and measure various metrics.

Benefits for ETS

Blog-Banner-11B It helps in reducing vehicle maintenance and fleet operational costs for transport vendors. Companies can use driver scorecards to encourage responsible driving and proactively warn or suspend drivers whose safety and productivity metrics are not meeting the minimum criteria. It also helps companies in their green initiatives as responsible driving helps reduce carbon emissions.

Benefits for Schools

Blog-Banner-11C Monitoring the driver behavioural data, schools can proactively warn or remove the risky drivers from the rolls. This can improve driver safety quotient and reduce accident rates. Schools that own the fleet will benefit in fleet maintenance, reducing operational costs and fuel bills by using eSafe solution.

How Management benefits by implementing Transport Automation System?

Employee Transportation is one of the top expenses for medium and large sized IT companies. As the company operations expand and more employees join the fold, transportation expense is also likely to increase manifold and inefficiencies can creep in. Since the transport operations are managed by the transport desk under the Facilities department, the management is usually in the dark about the various operational and financial metrics. Aside from the budget allocated for transport, management is unaware of whether the budget has been judiciously spent. Hence, there is a definitive need for transport automation system with management specific dashboard and reports. Below are few ways it adds value to the management.

Reliable Data

In a manual system where the data is tracked in excel and presented to management in the form of presentations, there is always the potential for intentional or unintentional manipulation. With an automated system, the entire workflow is digitally managed with role-based access and complete audit trail. This eliminates the scope for any manual data manipulation.

Stay on top of Key Metrics

With management dashboards and analytics, management can stay on top of specific operational and financial metrics which gives them a quick idea of the performance of the operations and the expense.

Employee Productivity

A recent study in the UK across 34,000 workers has confirmed that longer commutes can have a direct impact on employees’ health and productivity and in extreme case lead to attrition. With optimized routing, the routes can be simplified and travel time reduced thereby giving precious time back to the employees. This can enable a pleasant experience and therefore result in a positive impact on employees’ health and productivity. On time arrival is another metric that can improve employee productivity. With better tracking and control, an automated system improves the on-time arrivals thereby enabling employees to report to work on time.

Safe Transport

When a company provides transportation, the company is obligated to ensure safety and security of employees during pickup to office and drop back home. With a robust transport management system, management can take comfort from the fact that the employees are transported in a safe and secure manner with well-defined controls, levels of escalation and intelligent response mechanisms.

Peace of Mind

Despite the best preventive measures, there is always a remote chance of an untoward incident. When such a rare unfortunate incident occurs, management is questioned by the police and other agencies regarding safety precautions taken by the company. With an end to end transport management system in place, management can safeguard themselves from police and laws for having implemented robust safety systems and running a fully compliant operation.

Three types of Routing Algorithms

Automated routing is making an impact in IT companies that has substantive employee transport operations as it not only saves time in generating routes but also produces more optimized routes. The routing typically runs on a general algorithm, however the same algorithm may not be the most optimized in different geographies and scenarios. Hence, there is a need for multiple types of algorithms, each of which can run best on a certain city demographics and preferences.Below are few routing algorithms developed by Safetrax which has helped maximize optimization and minimize manual interventions.

Distance Based Routing Algorithm

  • How it works: Takes farthest employees and clubs more employees on the way as much as possible while adhering to distance deviation and trip time constraints provided
  • Suited for: Organizations of all shapes and sizes
  • Benefits: Reduction in number of trips and better seating utilization

Cluster Based Routing Algorithm

  • How it works: Creates specific-sized cluster of employees as per their proximity from each other and creates trips that can carry maximum number of employees from same cluster
  • Suited for: Organizations that have large number of Employees logging in or logging out in the same shift
  • Benefits: Most pickups and drops are configured to happen within a limited radius that ensures that drivers do not have to cover multiple locations. Employees are at ease since the pickup or drop is in the vicinity without too much deviation.

Zone Based Routing Algorithm

  • How it works: This is a variant of Cluster Based Routing Algorithm with the difference that here the Zones are manually defined by the Admin team and employees are assigned to the zones. The routing algorithm picks employees who are assigned to the same zones and then creates optimized trips as per Cluster Based Routing Algorithm.
  • Suited for: Organizations that have large number of Employees logging in or logging out in the same shift.
  • Benefits: Helps in cases where billing is based on zones and drivers do not have pickup/drop employees in two different zones.

10 things that can go wrong in Employee Transportation and how to deal with them?

1. New cabs inducted at short notice without detailed background checks and GPS

Adhoc induction of cabs poses serious safety risk as vehicles ply without GPS. This problem can be solved by – 1. Vendors need to be notified that adhoc cabs should mandatorily carry a GPS device failing which billing for that vehicle will be void. 2. Vendors should be provided with a Smartphone or PlugnPlay GPS device to enable immediate vehicle tracking. The vehicle/driver details need to be entered in the transport management system and should be mapped with GPS device for accurate tracking.

2. Rains, strikes, bandhs cause traffic chaos leading to delayed On-Time arrivals

A robust technology-driven operation can be the saviour as it helps companies communicate the right information to the employees, drivers and vendors and ensure minimal disruption to business. Companies can immediately trigger SMS’s or App notifications to employees regarding potential delays. With GPS in vehicles, companies have visibility on all vehicles which can help in quickly rerouting drivers and enabling them to reach office with minimal delays.

3. No Show from employees

Employees sometimes take transport operations for granted and do not provide prior information regarding No shows / Leaves. This hurts the transport operation as it not only results in completely avoidable back & forth calls, running Kms and time but also costs money. This can be avoided by providing periodic orientation to employees and by introducing policies such as More than Two No Shows, employee will be automatically removed from Rostering. Subsequently, employee will have to raise a request and receive approval from manager to be rostered again.

4. Driver Phones run out of battery

To prevent Phones from running out of battery, Driver App installed on the phones should remind drivers about connecting to the charger when the battery falls below 40% and continue to remind for every 5% drop. If the phone reaches 10% battery and still not connected to the charger, the system will automatically not consider the vehicle for trip deployments. The potential loss of revenue will force drivers to always have their phones charged.

5. Defective RFID reader

If the RFID readers are defective, the employees can confirm boarding/deboarding thru the Employee app. In addition, an IVR call can be triggered to the employees in the cab to capture boarding/deboarding.

6. GPS does not send coordinates due to congestion in data traffic

This is mostly due to telecom network. In such cases, Safetrax GPS device will continue to track the vehicle and store location co-ordinates in the built-in memory. When network connectivity resumes, the locations are sent to the server so the route and KMs are accurately captured in reports.

7. Drivers disconnect GPS over weekends to stay out of tracking

Penalizing the drivers for turning off / tampering with the GPS wiring can prevent such incidents from happening.

8. Inaccurate billing - variation between Actual Odometer and GPS KMs

In our experience, we have observed a 2 – 10% variation between the GPS and Odometer readings. The variation could be due to various factors such as tyre conditions - size, pressure, alignment, etc and in general overall condition of the vehicle. Hence, it is prudent to discuss with vendor about potential variance and agree upon a GPS Kms + 2 – 5% extra KMs so vendors do not feel a huge pinch in their monthly revenues.

9. Distress to Employees

Distress to employees can vary from something minor as delayed drop to as major as harassment/misbehaviour from drivers. Therefore, it is important to equip all vehicles with physical panic buttons and in addition employees should have the Employee app handy to report panic situations. In intelligent SOS panel in the Admin application will help transport supervisors to take quick control of the situation and deliver swift help.

10. Rash driving by Drivers

In addition to overspeeding, and idling, advanced GPS devices can record more data about the driving behaviour such as harsh braking, harsh cornering, sudden acceleration, etc. These metrics can be used to generate a driver scorecard which when shared with drivers will help them correct their driving patterns and behaviours.

How GPS, Cell Tower and Wi-Fi triangulation help in tracking location?

In the past decade, transportation both at the consumer and business level has undergone rapid transformations resulting in improved productivity and customer experience. The key to that has been the ability to track movement in real time. Real time tracking is ubiquitous, but for the transport managers and technically inclined it is fascinating to go beyond the surface of visual maps to understand how GPS and other location tracking methods work.

GPS Triangulation

b2 The Global Positioning System (GPS) developed by US, is a satellite-based navigation system made up of 27 satellites. Smartphones and GPS devices which have GPS receiver built in to them, are the two most popular devices for location tracking. If the vehicle carries a Smartphone or GPS device, to identify its 2-D position (latitude and longitude), the GPS receiver in a device or phone connects with at least 3 satellites. If it locks with 4 or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine its 3-D position (latitude, longitude and altitude).As illustrated in the above image, the GPS receiver identifies its distance to each of the satellite to deduce its location through mathematical technique trilateration – a complex version of triangulation. Generally, a GPS receiver tracks 8 or more satellites and connects with 3 or 4 satellites to determine its location. As the vehicle moves, the distance between the GPS receiver and the satellite varies, enabling the receiver to compute its location instantly. As per official US Gov report, the GPS receivers in Smartphones/GPS devices can typically locate within 4.9 meter accuracy depending on various terrestrial and atmospheric conditions.

Cell Tower Triangulation

b3 Cell tower triangulation is another technique widely used to identify the location of the phone/device. A cell phone signal may be picked up by three or more cell towers enabling the triangulation to work. So when a triangulation happens – with the point of overlap of three signals, it is possible to estimate the location of the cell phone based on its distance from the three towers. The cell towers broadcast their location and by knowing the distance of the phone from each towers, the co-ordinates of the cell phone is calculated. Average accuracy of cell towers could vary between 500m - 1500m. In urban areas where towers are in every nook and corner, it is possible to deduce the location of phone/device with greater accuracy.

Wi-Fi Positioning

b4 It is fair to wonder what Wi-Fi has got to do with identifying your co-ordinates. Companies such as Google and Apple have been using this method to identify your location. So how does this work? Phones have a background location service which constantly seeks for Wi-Fi access points and sends Wi-Fi addresses (bssid) along with its location identified through GPS or cell tower triangulation to their respective servers and stored in their database.The fact that there are more Wi-Fi hotspots than trees in a city enables Google or Apple to identify your location by merely knowing the strength of Wi-Fi signals on your phone. This data is available for app developers through APIs which any developer can leverage to locate phones using Wi-Fi positioning. The accuracy of Wi-Fi in dense city can vary between 10 - 25m and in sub-urban areas with less access points 20 - 100m.

4 ways to reduce the Transport Cost per Employee

On an average Transport cost per employee per month varies from Rs. 3,500 – Rs. 10,000 depending on the city and scale of operation. Irrespective of the size and scale, companies can take steps to reduce the per employee transport cost which ultimately reduces the overall transportation and administration expense. Let us look at 4 actionable items that can lead to a reduction in expense.

Automated Routing

picture1 In a manual operation, creation of routes consume several man hours and the output is not optimized for efficiency. Some transport managers may argue that our routes are evolved through years of experience and knowledge of every nook, corner and lane in the city. While that may be true, knowledge of geography does not translate into mathematical precision and efficiencies. After all, Garry Kasparov was beaten by Deep Blue in the mid 1990’s. In our engagements with 60+ companies, we have found that there is scope for at least 3% efficiency gains going up to 12% in some cases.How the routing produces optimized output is a topic for another day. But broadly algorithms construct a distance matrix identifying the distance between one employee and the rest and similarly among all employees and generates a combination of routes. These routes are further refined to the most optimal ones (least distance and maximum seat utilization) subject to various constraints such as max distance deviation, max time, and available fleet mix. With cloud computing, this complex task is executed in a couple of minutes and the transport supervisors can quickly proceed to deploy vehicles to the generated routes. This not only saves significant time but also reduces the number of trips, vehicles and overall KMs, thereby reducing the overall cost.

Renegotiation of Contracts

picture2 With automated routing transport managers possess an important arsenal to generate a myriad combination of routes by varying the applied constraints such as distance deviation, max distance, max time and available fleet mix and algorithm type – distance, zone and cluster. The output can then be analysed and compared with the past trips and expenses and the one that offers the maximum efficiency without sacrificing employee convenience can be narrowed down to. Armed with this insight transport managers can now go back to transport vendors to restructure and renegotiate contracts which offer them the most value and benefits.

Reduction of Manpower

picture3 With end to end automation, companies achieve significant efficiency in every step of the transport operation, be it Rostering, Routing, Tracking, Trip deployment, etc. Where several resources were handling routing, MIS, employee queries, vendor management, etc can be reduced to one or two resources as a result of automated system. In a large scale operation, up to 40% of manpower can be reduced generating reasonable savings for the company.

Reduce Stationary and Telephony cost

picture4 While these may not be as big an expense, any reduction achieved can augment to the overall efficiency and savings. With automated system up to 80% of the stationary and outgoing calls can be avoided contributing to the overall reduction in transport expense. From an organizational perspective, reduction of paper usage enables facility team to contribute to the organizations green policy and initiatives.

Monitoring Driver Performance for Safe Employee Transport Operation

The performance of drivers largely decides the success and stability of any transport operation. Recent years have seen the proliferation of GPS devices, and most cabs on the road today have GPS device fitted in them. However, whether the device generates the right data and whether those are tracked by the supervisors/managers is questionable. One can blame the cheap GPS devices in the market and poor tracking software as major reasons. A sophisticated GPS device can gather lot of important metrics regarding driver performance which can help in identifying potentially risky drivers enabling supervisors to warn them at the right time. Let us examine some of the driver performance metrics that can help in establishing a safe employee transportation operation.

Speed Violations

1 Overspeeding is an indication of lack of patience and discipline and makes the driver erratic and risky. The number of speed violations and duration of the speed recorded by the GPS device can help manager decide on the risk profile of the driver. Most fatal accidents are result of over speeding and it is prudent to be watchful on this metric and share the feedback with drivers to avoid accidents.

Average Speed

2 Most drivers are not conscious of the average speed and would be happy to learn and adjust their driving behaviours. An average speed must be measured along the duration of the day to be able to provide constructive feedback. A driver doing trips during peak times might have a low average speed, which should be benchmarked against the average speed during those hours. Similarly, a driver doing duty in lean hours should be benchmarked against acceptable average speed in those hours.

On time / Late Arrival

3 This metric assumes significance in the IT/ITES industry as even a 5 minute delay in arrival can lead to loss in productivity and revenues for a company. With GPS tracking, geo-fencing and trip management, it should be easy to track and stay on top of this metric.

Scheduled vs. Actual KM

4 The difference occurs when drivers deviate from scheduled routes or tamper the odometers. In either case it directly results in inflated KMs and overpaying the vendors.

Harsh Events

5 An advanced GPS device comes with 3-axis accelerometer and extra sensors which helps detect core inherent driving patterns such as fast lane change, harsh braking, harsh cornering, sudden acceleration and other potentially risky manoeuvres. These metrics help in creating a comprehensive and accurate driver scorecard enabling managers to provide precise feedback to drivers and vendors.

GPS device or Smartphone – which is best suited for vehicle tracking?

Most often we encounter customers asking which is preferable - GPS device or Smartphone for vehicle tracking. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and what primarily determines the selection is the transport operation arrangement in a company. For some companies it could be either one of them and others both. Let us examine the capabilities and pros and cons of these options.

GPS Device

blog-banner-2 Fixed GPS device is an independent hardware unit whose primary function is to send latitude/longitude co-ordinates to the configured server. The device is inserted with a SIM Card, installed under the dashboard of the vehicle and wired to the vehicles battery for power supply. Most GPS devices come with a 4 – 6 hour battery backup so when wiring is tampered with by drivers - a common occurrence, it can still continue to track the vehicle as long as the battery lasts. It also typically comes with a 4GB memory card so when device loses cellular signal, the latitude/longitude is still tracked and stored in the memory card and beamed to the server when cellular connectivity resumes. The ports in the device allows integration with accessories like HID/RFID readers and Panic button, a common setup in the employee transportation industry. Since the device is hard wired to the vehicle, installation and deinstallation requires the help of an electrician and generally takes about 30 minutes per vehicles. GPS device can function on a 2G Sim Card with a plan that costs as low as Rs. 35 per month.


blog-banner-3A good 7 – 10K smartphone with a vehicle tracking app such as Safetrax’s driver app can act as vehicle tracking device. The app tracks the latitude/longitude and sends it to the server. Additionally, tripsheets can be sent to the app which helps eliminate paper tripsheets. Employees as they board can enter an OTP on drivers smartphone to confirm their boarding / alighting status. From the app, drivers can call employees whose numbers are masked using call forwarding. It is also easier to add new features to the app which can make the driver more productive and employees safer. Smartphones will require a 3G/4G Sim Card with a data plan that starts from Rs.150 per month.

Smartphone vs. GPS Device

Below is a neat infographic comparing both the options to help you decide on this fundamental component of employee transport automation system.infographic-02

So which one should I go for?

If majority of operations is managed by dedicated fleet, it is practical to go with GPS device + HID Reader + Panic button setup. This brings in certain stability to the operations with the only con being companies will have to print and handover tripsheets to drivers. On the other hand, dedicated buses, shuttles, etc where dependence on tripsheets is minimal, can be installed with the fixed GPS setup.If majority of operations is managed by non-dedicated fleet, it is most ideal to go with Smartphones which can be easily swapped by vendor when the cab changes. Additionally companies can maintain a stock of phones to deploy when new or adhoc vehicle is assigned duty. Since, operations are usually managed by registered vendors, it is easy to manage the flow of devices and any loss/damage can be levied on the vendors.In large operations, which involves multiple offices in a city or spread across different cities, each site or citys' operations need to be considered before concluding the mode of tracking. We recommend a hybrid setup going with smartphones where there is a frequent churn of vehicles and GPS setup where major segment of fleet is dedicated.Further, if the drivers carry a capable smartphone (7-10k), as is the case often today, companies can leverage by insisting drivers to install the Driver app. With a clause that only GPS tracked trips will be considered for billing, companies can enforce discipline on the usage of smartphone for tracking and receiving trip duties.

Why do you need Employee Transport Automation?

IT Industry currently employees 10mn people and is poised to grow at an average CAGR of 8-9% in the next couple of years. Despite the automation wave threatening mundane jobs, the addition of new resources is likely to grow at in the same rate as in the past. Currently, about 30-40% of the employees depend upon the company’s transportation service. With spends ranging from Rs.3000 to Rs. 8500 per employee per month towards transportation, it assumes a significant expenditure for most companies.Cost aside, transport operations are inherently complex, dynamic and involves multiple stakeholders. With late night operations and erratic drivers, safety risks pose a threat to companies. Few rape incidents by cab drivers in the past have led to strict transportation guidelines from Nasscom, FICCI and local police authorities. Any delay or disruption in the transport operations can hurt the business significantly potentially resulting in loss of reputation and revenues. Hence, there is a definitive need for a comprehensive transport automation system to streamline operations, improve safety and achieve cost savings. Current challenges faced by IT companies
  • Manual billing and reconciliation
  • Lack of real time visibility
  • Manual co-ordination with high call volumes
  • Inefficient routing
  • Longer commute for employees
  • Employee safety
  • Excel report generation and maintenance
  • No in-depth analytics