We all know that public transit is less polluting and more energy-efficient than individual vehicles, but what if we could make it even better with simple driver training and fuel economy feedback gadgets? That's what SmartDrive claims in a new study (though note that they sell products and services to fleet operators, so they are not entirely impartial -- but still, their findings are pretty common sense and pass the BS-detector). It won't be a surprise to anyone that the kinds of eco-driving tips that work for small cars also work for the much larger vehicles in transit fleets. What might be a bit surprising is just how much of a difference eco-driving can make: "“Within one month [of receiving driving training], the top 25% of drivers improved their fuel economy from 3.87MPG to 4.59MPG, or 18.7%."
If whole fleets of buses can be made almost 1/5 more fuel efficient with some simple training and maybe some onboard feedback devices, we're talking about vast quantities of fuel saved, which means less CO2, less smog-forming emissions, better air in cities, and an even bigger environmental advantage to transit over individual vehicles.
What needs to be done to achieve those results isn't esoteric or difficult:
Yet the potential for greener transit is important. Adding some fuel-efficiency feedback for drivers - kind of like in hybrid cars - would also make a difference. It serves as both a reminder and as a training tool, allow drivers to recalibrate themselves for optimum efficiency.