Linfox, Blue Circle & Eco-Driving
The following training example was initiated originally to improve Linfox's company profile by reducing their carbon emissions (the GreenFox initiative). In looking to reduce these emissions more so than up-skill their drivers Linfox investigated the development of a training program to support eco-driving.
As fuel is one of the major expenses for road transport companies any reduction in fuel consumption would have considerable fiscal (and environmental) benefits.
Through external training provider, the Andromeda Group, eco-driving competencies have been integrated into LinFox's performance management system. Results from the initial test pilot of 180 drivers over an 18-month timeframe showed that staff demonstrated 14% fuel efficiency gains when individual vehicles had been measured.
A total of 826 Linfox drivers had been trained by June 2010, and whilst no information is available on the cost of the training program, due to LinFox's expansion and the prioritisation of the program over other energy reduction strategies it is assumed that the 14% reduction in fuel reported above represents a significant return on investment for Linfox.
Other eco-driving road transport examples include Monash University's 12 week pilot study in collaboration with Blue Circle Southern Cement showed that for a 12 week study analysing 68 tonne B-Double trucks a reduction in fuel consumption of 27% was achievable and that gear changes and brake applications could be reduced by 29% and 41% respectively with no increase in travel time.
69 drivers were trained in a number of one day training sessions each involving 8 - 12 drivers by Strategix Training group. Blue Circle noted that a 1% reduction in fuel could save them $15,000 a year. The pilot study has yet to be rolled out on a larger scale to further examine if a 27% reduction on fuel was achievable in day to day operations outside of the test track. If however the figures are accurate eco-driving training has the potential to save Blue Circle $405,000 per year in fuel costs.