GreenDOT Strives to Decrease Green House Gases Through Driver Safety

The transportation sector of the United States generates a significant amount of greenhouse gases (28%), fatalities (34,000) and injuries (2.2 million) on an annual basis. Mitigation Techniques to Modify Driver Performance to Improve Fuel Economy, Reduce Emissions and Improve Safety sought to identify methods that could be applied to average drivers to achieve the goals of the GreenDOT Implementation Plan. This plan lays out the foundation for how MassDOT can have a positive impact on the environment, while still achieving the mission of moving goods and people safely, reliably, and efficiently.

This research project, funded by the Federal Highway Administration, analyzed the effects of providing both static and dynamic feedback to drivers to encourage more eco-conscious driving by the participants. The static feedback consisted of a 1.5 hour classroom eco-driving training session taught by an instructor of MassDOT drivers, while the dynamic feedback entailed the installation of devices in 133 MassDOT vehicles and gave real time feedback on driver performance and fuel consumption.

Data collection was divided into three phases, and resulted in a safety score. This safety scored was calculated as the number of safety events per 10 hours, based on the seven performance measures determined during the framing of the research method. These scores were given as static feedback to drivers and compared across vehicle type and demographics to identify data trends.

Dynamic, real time feedback was effective in reducing instances of speeding, but the effect of this feedback diminished after the function was turned off. This trend was noticed for all instances of driver feedback and evaluation. Thus the project team recommends that real time feedback and classroom trainings be combined in the future to achieve the maximum effectiveness of eco-driving, and to make drivers more aware and educated on greener ways to drive. The Mitigation Report outlines proposed methods for effective implementation of this practice to improve the fuel economy and safety, while reducing emissions, of MassDOT’s vehicle fleet.