SmartWay 'Truck Tool'

SmartWay ‘Truck Tool’

The SmartWay Partnership's online Truck Tool provides carriers that join and participate in the Partnership with several benefits.

The SmartWay Partnership recently hosted an Internet session that demonstrated the use of its online Truck Tool. This tool is a key element of the SmartWay program, as it provides carriers that join and participate in the Partnership with several benefits:

• Guidance for gathering basic data inputs on fuel use, vehicle miles traveled, payload and other operational activities that affect a fleet’s efficiency and environmental performance
• System outputs that provide a baseline to annually assess fleet efficiency improvements
• Metrics that allow carriers to benchmark the performance of their fleet against comparable fleets (for example, flatbed-to-flatbed, dry van-to-dry van).

Participation by carriers in the Partnership also brings with it some obligations that need to be renewed annually. By using the Truck Tool, a carrier can fulfill its reporting obligations. These include:

• A description of the fleet’s vehicle composition
• A characterization of its activity
• Benchmarks of individual fleet divisions
• Details of any changes in performance

Other SmartWay Partners—shippers, multimodal and logistics partners—have tools designed specifically for their use.

SmartWay engineers have developed analytical protocols designed to analyze the data reported by carrier partners to develop performance distribution curves for a variety of carrier types. Using the results of these analyses, fleets are able to compare their performance with that of the aggregate of similar fleets. This should be a very useful means to help them know if they need to develop programs to improve performance.

Partner operations are placed into one of the following categories: dry van/chassis, reefer, flatbed, tanker, heavy/bulk, auto carrier, moving, specialized/utility. The dry van/chassis category is further divided into truckload, less than truck load, P&D and expedited. The expectation is that such categories will allow fleets to get a good idea of how their performance ranks when compared to similar operations.

When a fleet joins the SmartWay Partnership, it commits to measure and report on an annual basis its environmental performance using SmartWay’s Truck Tool. Existing fleets must report data for the prior year. Newly formed companies require a minimum of three months of operational data. All applicants also must understand their performance results will be posted on the SmartWay website and they might need to submit supporting documentation to SmartWay for any data used to complete the tool, as well as an audit of this data.

In return, SmartWay is obligated to promote its Partners’ participation in the program by posting the fleets’ names on the SmartWay website and in related educational, promotional and media materials. SmartWay also agrees not to use a fleet’s name in any other type of promotion without specific permission from the fleet. The partnership also provides participating companies with industry-wide performance benchmark data as such information becomes available. Finally, also very important to participating fleets, SmartWay will assist its partners in achieving their emissions and fuel reduction goals.

The Truck Tool can be found and filled out completely online. Doing so annually constitutes agreement by Partner fleets with all terms of program membership. No separate agreement need be submitted. Either SmartWay or a Partner fleet can terminate the agreement at any time without prior notification, penalty or further obligation. Of course, if a Partner or SmartWay defaults on any point of the agreement, the relationship becomes void.

Becoming a member of SmartWay is not a trivial process, but one that a growing number of fleets find pays for itself many times over. It also is one that should be considered by any operator that is not yet a member of the SmartWay Partnership. 

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