May 2019

Traffic congestion: How data can deliver a smart solution

Next time you’re stuck in a rush-hour traffic jam, count the number of delivery vans and lorries you can see around you. Their drivers are sharing your frustration – and their customers are left wondering when their delivery is going to turn up.

Congestion reportedly cost the UK nearly £8 billion last year, with road users losing an average of 178 hours each in congestion. In the US, the cost was nearly $87 billion.

So it will come as no surprise that the latest Department for Transport figures for the UK reveal that more than three-quarters of domestic freight was moved by road in 2017. And van traffic almost doubled between 1990 and 2016 – from 24.8 to 49.2 billion vehicle miles – with a corresponding 65% increase in van emissions.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. GeoSpock’s state-of-the-art spatial big data platform is signposting a better route for the logistics industry – one that will deliver a smart, environmentally friendly future for all of us.

Visualising rush-hour traffic data as a heat map, for example, clearly highlights bottlenecks and could enable city leaders to ban delivery vehicles in specific areas at peak times to ease congestion. Alternatively, that information could be used by a delivery company to ensure its vehicles avoid trouble spots at the busiest times of day.

Analysis of individual delivery vehicle movements could pinpoint duplication of activity where too many drivers are in a given area – and so help improve the efficiency of delivery network planning. Capturing package delivery data, feeding it into logistics tracking systems and analysing the data over time to spot trends can also help delivery companies predict parcel volumes and more efficiently match their capacity to expected delivery demands.

Different driver routes could also be analysed to give the average time and distance between drop-offs, and the dwell time at each stop – valuable information for supply chain analysis of driver routes. In combination with other inputs – such as customer commit times, pick-up windows and special delivery needs – the logistics tracking system could then calculate the optimal route to minimise costs for the delivery company and dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Real-time route optimisation offers further scope for customers to specify delivery times during the day.

One of the largest multinational delivery companies has estimated that cutting just one mile per day from each of its drivers’ routes could generate annual savings of $50 million. If the entire logistics industry is smart enough to jump on board, it just might help save the planet.

Find out more

If you would like to discover more about GeoSpock’s spatial big data platform or would like a demonstration of how our platform can uncover insights in your data, please contact our team

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