The NYC Vision Zero action plan is an example of safety leadership and putting people first. New York City is aiming to become the "world's safest big city."

Efforts have already made significant improvements. In the Vision Zero Year Four update, New York City reported a 28 percent reduction in traffic fatalities and 45 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities since the start of the program in 2014.

To address its epidemic of traffic fatalities and injuries, New York City, which experiences about 250 traffic-related deaths and 4,000 non-fatal serious injuries per year or one traffic fatality or injury every two hours, implemented a city-wide Vision Zero Initiative. New York City has committed the use of every available tool to improve road safety, particularly, in how it is monitoring and managing the city's vehicle fleet.

What is Vision Zero?

Vision Zero is a road safety initiative founded by the Swedish government in 1997, which has been successfully implemented throughout Europe, and is now spreading throughout the United States.

At its foundation, Vision Zero starts with an ethical belief in the right of everyone to be able to safely move throughout their communities and aims to involve all the stakeholders in a city's transportation system, including fleet and safety personnel to reduce and ultimately eliminate the risks inherent in the way traffic is traditionally managed.

Dozens of cities of all sizes across the United States from Washington, D.C., to Anchorage Alaska are taking part in the initiative.

How is Vision Zero different from a safety program?

Vision Zero starts with the premise that traffic deaths are preventable, but that human beings will make mistakes and crashes will occur. This leads to developing traffic systems to lessen the severity of crashes instead of a focus on perfecting human behavior.

Vision Zero doesn't rely on a silver-bullet solution. Instead, it uses a multidisciplinary approach and techniques, including technology and a reliance on data-driven approaches, to achieve the goal of zero traffic fatalities or severe injuries.

To become a Vision Zero City, a municipality must meet four minimum standards, including:

  • Setting the clear goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries.
  • Having the mayor publicly and officially commit to Vision Zero.
  • Putting a Vision Zero plan or strategy in place, having the commitment to do so within a clear time frame.
  • Engaging key city departments, including police, transportation, and public health.

Technology is a key part of New York's Vision Zero program

In addition to redesigning streetscapes, enforcing traffic safety, and educating the public, New York City is looking at vehicle technology as part of their range of safety initiatives.

Telematics fits perfectly into Vision Zero because of its data-gathering and analysis capabilities.

As part of the city's Vision Zero Initiative, the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) implemented a telematics program powered by Geotab.

Using the Geotab technology and platform, DCAS developed an operations and incident management system, Fleet Office Real-Time Tracking (FORT), to monitor real-time location and alerts from city fleet vehicles. FORT is used to tie many of the city's safety initiatives, such as collision tracking, safe driving, and emergency management, into one easy- to-use system. With this telematics data, real-time key safety event information is presented to DCAS fleet managers and supervisors. This helps protect city drivers and to make NYC streets safer for bicyclists, pedestrians, and commercial and private vehicles.

In addition to implementing FORT, NYC developed a technology-focused Safe Fleet Transition Plan (SFTP) to support its Vision Zero initiative. The SFTP is a formalized set of best-practice vehicle safety technologies to prevent and mitigate crashes by making large city vehicles safer. The success of the SFTP depends on a cross-agency communication, agency readiness to adopt new safety technologies, and working closely with private industry.

In the plan, the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) presented a number of potential new fleet technologies, which were investigated and benchmarked by Together for Safer Roads and other agencies:

  • High vision truck cabs
  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Pedestrian Collision Warning (PCW)
  • Backup alarms
  • External cameras and recording

Why does it matter?

Deaths and injuries related to motor vehicle collisions continue to be a scourge around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that worldwide, there are around 1.35 million deaths annually related to vehicle collisions; with another 20-50 million suffering non-fatal, but life-altering injuries. Treatment, productivity, and compensation expenses related to accidents can cost as much as 3 percent of a country's gross domestic product (GDP) for the U.S. alone that would translate to $624 billion annually, based the country's 2018 GDP.

Grimly, the U.S. has the highest traffic fatality rate in the developed world with large vehicles accounting for a disproportionately growing number of them, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).

Even though large municipal vehicles, such as fire trucks and waste management vehicles, only make up 4 percent of U.S. fleet vehicles, they collectively account for 7 percent of all pedestrian, 11 percent of all bicyclist, and 12 percent of all car and light-truck fatalities.


There can be little argument that telematics is transforming the way fleets are being managed, making it more data-driven science than art.

But telematics is having wider impacts than just the management of fleet vehicles. Paired with the road-safety initiative Vision Zero, telematics is helping pave the way towards a fatality and serious-injury free future.

Source: Geotab

Every 18 seconds someone is injured and every 11 minutes a person is killed due to a motor vehicle collision, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A comprehensive fleet safety program including driver training helps prevent and reduce accidents, which saves lives and money. The annual accident rate for commercial fleets is around 20% and the average cost of a fleet accident is $70,000 almost double the cost of the typical workplace injury.

An effective fleet safety program can improve driver attentiveness, enhance safe vehicle operation, and reduce risk and liability.

Effective risk management programs must include safety training for drivers. A driver safety training program should include the following elements:

  • Fleet safety policy
  • Vehicle maintenance and inspection
  • Driver selection process
  • Ongoing training for all drivers
  • Effective incident investigation
  • Ride-along safety observations

Driver training can take many forms one-on-one, behind the wheel, in-classroom, simulator-based, and online modules. The best programs utilize a blend of training to keep drivers engaged and ensure they hear the company’s safety message.

Company’s that implement a comprehensive fleet safety program realize the benefits of reinforcing a culture of safety. An effective program lowers the risk of corporate liability, increases the overall skill level of a fleet’s drivers, reduces accidents and saves lives.

Source: Automotive Fleet

One of the biggest challenges a fleet manager faces is managing driver safety. Managing risk and improving safety across the fleet is crucial to keeping insurance premiums low, reducing downtime and preventing expensive and unnecessary maintenance costs.

The National Safety Council states that distracted driving causes more than a million collisions each year. The cost of accidents and vehicle damage can add up quickly. Just the expenses associated with repairing damaged vehicles alone are exorbitant. Add on increased insurance premiums, profits lost from driver and vehicle downtime, and potential lost business from damage to your brand reputation, and you can see the impact this can have on your fleet.

Technology continues to improve by simplifying all aspects of fleet management, including driver behavior and safety. Fleet safety management is key to keeping fleet operational costs low and productivity high.

What you can do with telematics

At this point, the majority of fleets are equipped with telematics software. Now that so many organizations have the technology, it's time to learn how to use it properly to make the most of its potential. These solutions are complex; they can do much more than just track your vehicle. The complexity requires more knowledge of the software and fleet operations, as well as initiative to maximize results.

The use of big data is not limited to the telematics industry. Millions of data points are collected each day from across the world. The most applicable example of using predictive analytics in day-to-day life is the ability to make predictions about buyer's activity. Websites such as Amazon use data from your previous purchases and search history to show you items that you are likely to purchase. This is all determined by predictive analytics.

So, take this example and apply it to fleet management. Imagine what you could do with all of the data collected from your fleet and back-office systems. There are thousands of pieces of information collected each day that your telematics system makes available to you. All of this presents unique insights that allow you to learn more about your fleet than ever before. The power of big data is limitless, so how will you use it to make your fleet better?

You can maximize the data from your back-office systems, and your vehicles, by applying it to your fleet management strategy.

Managing safety and risk with telematics

Applying these same practices to driver behavior can allow fleet managers everywhere to cultivate a safer and more efficient fleet. It's about more than just numbers and pieces of information. It's about connecting your fleet to your business. All aspects of your fleet are connected to provide better transparency and visibility into fleet activities and their potential consequences.

Unsafe driver behaviors lead to accidents, increases in insurance premiums, reputation issues and vehicle damage. Therefore, it's important to create a strategy to improve driver behaviors across your fleet to prevent problems that could hurt your organization.

You can't sit in the passenger seat of each vehicle, but you can stay aware of fleet activities with telematics software. All of the information collected on driver behavior by your telematics software can be used to improve fleet safety. Using the data and machine learning, the software can make predictions about future risks based on historical information.

Let's say you have a driver who hard brakes frequently. Regardless of the cause, this behavior is likely to cause accidents, and therefore you want to correct the behavior as soon as possible. With this knowledge, you can create a customized coaching plan for this driver to help correct this habit. If this is successful you have avoided preventable accidents, driver injury, vehicle damage, and insurance premium increases.

If you don't have the right software, or if you aren't using it properly, you could miss out on these cost-saving opportunities. There's more to improving driver safety than behavior monitoring and training. Take fleet safety a step further with gamification.

Why gamification works

Driver compliance is crucial to running a safe fleet. Concerns about the "Big Brother" effect with fleet monitoring technology have mostly passed, but some drivers are still skeptical knowing that their behaviors are monitored. The solution to this is to get drivers involved and show them how the technology works and can benefit them. The easiest way to do this is with gamification.

Gamification incentivizes the drivers to improve their behaviors on the road. By keeping score of their good and bad behaviors and comparing those numbers to their peers. This, combined with driver coaching and training, has proven to drastically improve fleet safety.

Gamification motivates the drivers to work to improve their behaviors by pinning them against other drivers, inciting competition across the fleet. It also puts their actions on display for the entire fleet. Even without detailing their specific mistakes, showing each driver's numbers publicly motivates them to improve. Tapping into that psychology allows fleet managers to gain driver buy-in to promote safer practices.

Making changes to improve safety

Without vehicle damage, downtime, accidents and violations, your organization can save thousands of dollars each year. Additionally, avoiding downtime and keeping productivity high can result in higher profits.

The ROI of a telematics solution is generally seen within six months. By harnessing the power of big data and analytics a fleet can save on insurance.

Changes in driver behavior will benefit a fleet enormously. Combine the power of driver behavior monitoring, predictive analytics, and gamification to see drastic improvements in fleet operations.

Source: Fleet Equipment

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