Fife Council looks after the diverse needs of just under 367,000 citizens in Scotland's third largest local authority area.
The council runs a fleet of 1,600 vehicles across thirteen departments, including car derived vans, mini buses and large commercial vehicles. A number of dual fuel hydrogen and fully electric vehicles were also recently introduced to support the council's ongoing commitment to sustainability.
The provision of a vast range of public services – many of them 24/7 or emergency – presents many different challenges.
Whether their employees are delivering on demand home care, responding to a street lighting emergency or providing passenger transportation to the more vulnerable members of its community, it is vital that the council knows exactly where its vehicles are.
With council budgets continually squeezed, fuel efficiency is another obvious priority alongside CO2 reduction targets.
Fife Council was keen to improve the fleet’s efficiency as well as driver awareness and engagement. The building services department introduced the Webfleet system in 2014, after a successful trial with the Energy Saving Trust.
The technology, which is now installed in more than 1,000 of the council's vehicles, provides accurate real time and historical location data, allowing the different service providers to make better decisions about their fleet.
Combined with significant driver training investment, the move to fleet-wide telematics has resulted in estimated carbon savings of 3,400 CO2 /tonnes and a fuel cost reduction of £189,000 in 2017.
The Webfleet system has become highly valued as it means we can now respond to queries relating to our fleet within minutes, says Jennifer Thain, Operations Officer at Fife Council. The system can be used to confirm the exact location of our vehicles, and also to defend or confirm any third party claims against our drivers.
The technology is also used to locate staff if, for example, they are not answering their phone or their phone is out of signal, helping us to improve employee safety standards.
Vehicle location knowledge enables the council to provide a more efficient 24/7 emergency response to support the 8,000 people in Fife who have a Community Alarm system.
The system means that supervisors can quickly determine the nearest vehicle to the property activating the alarm, says Paula Edmonston, Associated Services Manager, Community Alarms. As well as speeding up our response times, this also minimises fuel wastage.
The technology also features OptiDrive 360 functionality, delivering direct feedback on driving performance to drivers before, during and after their trip. By giving insights on up to eight performance indicators, including harsh steering, sudden braking and speeding, the OptiDrive reports highlight at a glance where training is needed using simple colour coding.
Improving driver behaviour has reduced both maintenance and fuel costs across the council’s fleet. The council’s Building Services and Direct Response teams have both seen a 25% increase in their drivers' OptiDrive score, leading to a 15% increase in MPG in 2017.
We have seen our staff become much more motivated to improve their driving style and encouraged to drive with more consideration, says Jennifer. As well as cutting fuel consumption, this will ultimately reduce wear and tear on tyres, brakes and clutches.
Improving passenger safety was another key motivator for Fife. Mike McQueen, Transportation Officer at the council, explains: Our Demand Responsive Transport service team provide essential transport for the elderly and disabled members of our community, so safe, smooth and comfortable driving is absolutely paramount. The system from Webfleet has proved very effective at motivating all our staff by providing objective monitoring of their driving standards.