White paper

Modernizing data collection and reporting methods for the SmartWay program

The SmartWay programs in Canada and the United States are voluntary public-private partnerships designed to improve the efficiency and environmental performance of the freight sector. This study explores how the SmartWay program can redesign data collection processes so fleets can use operations data already being recorded by telematics systems for their annual reports. To investigate these possibilities, the project team interviewed a range of stakeholders, including trucking fleets, a provincial trucking association, a telematics provider, and SmartWay program staff. The following findings of the study should be considered by the SmartWay teams as they contemplate ways to modernize the data collection methods utilized in the program.

Electronic logging device regulations will require that virtually all commercial trucks operating in the United States and Canada have automated data collection. The U.S. electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate will be fully implemented at the end of 2019, and Canada is expected to follow suit with a highly-aligned regulation that will begin in 2020. These regulations require trucking fleets doing business in these two countries to collect and record data related to location, driving behavior, and several other operating parameters. These requirements create opportunities for automatic SmartWay data collection.

Data collection and quality assurance represents a significant percentage of fleets’ overall time spent engaging with the SmartWay program. The time and resources associated with completing the SmartWay annual report varied widely among fleets. For many fleets, the sizable time commitment needed for the annual data submission report limits their ability to engage with the SmartWay program in other ways.

Several types of data are readily accessible from telematics systems. Onboard recording devices are required to collect several types of data related to vehicle operations. Beyond vehicle operations data, many telematics systems also have data on fleet characteristics that could be accessed for automatically completing portions of the SmartWay report. However, payload information, which can present a high resource burden, is not captured by OBD systems.

Automating SmartWay data collection and submission is a value proposition for fleets, SmartWay staff, and telematics providers. All the interviewees expressed a desire for SmartWay to modernize the data collection and reporting methods in the program. Automating much of the SmartWay data process could save fleets time and money and allow them to participate more fully in the program. However, data privacy must be a major focus if automatic data collection is to be successfully implemented. In addition, SmartWay staff would have to spend less time on data management activities. Finally, the telematics company interviewed reported that they would market automatic SmartWay report creation to prospective customers.