The effectiveness of an ecodrive course for heavy vehicle drivers
Amongst other changes, ecodriving requires drivers to drive more smoothly ? to ?flow? the vehicle. In order to save fuel and reduce emissions drivers must operate at lower engine revolutions, change up gears as soon as possible, and anticipate traffic conditions and drive defensively. A field trial was conducted using a 30 km metropolitan circuit and B-double heavy vehicles. Compared to their pre-course measures, the trained group reduced their fuel consumption by an average of 27%, the number of gear changes by 29%, and the number of brake applications by 41%. Importantly, these gains were not offset by increases in the time taken to complete the circuit ? indeed average speed increased slightly. Further, the benefits did not lose any strength 12 weeks after the training, at which point the pilot trial concluded ? in fact for some variables the results continued to improve over time. The number of drivers participating in the trial was relatively small and some questions remain unanswered, including actual road safety implications, building a strong case for a larger trial.