Assessing the Use of Navigation Systems in the Trucking Industry: Phase 1 - Driver and Carrier Survey Analyses
This source report presented the results of a survey given to drivers of commercial motor vehicles and carrier management. The overall goal was to evaluate the perceived utility of onboard navigation systems, associated benefits, and risks for truck drivers who use these systems.
Online surveys were used to collect data from both drivers and carriers. Paper surveys were used to collect additional data from drivers at trucking shows and other events. Survey questions were primarily multiple-choice to support quantitative analysis, but included a few open-ended questions to generate qualitative data. The driver survey included 17 questions related to demographics, extent and frequency of navigation system usage, and driver perceptions of navigation system technology. The carrier survey included 22 questions on management perception and experience with these systems.
The research team collected data from over 800 professional truck drivers and motor carrier executives. In total, there were 677 driver survey respondents and 169 carrier survey respondents.
Nearly half of the carriers surveyed (49 percent) operated small fleets with less than 50 power units. Carriers with 50 to 249 power units represented 24 percent of respondents, carriers with 250 to 999 represented 14 percent of respondents, and carriers with 1,000 or more represented 14 percent of respondents.
Overall, results indicated relatively high-levels of use and trust in navigation system technology used by industry stakeholders, especially among new drivers and large carriers. The driver survey indicated that 73 percent of drivers were somewhat trusting (67 percent) or very trusting (6 percent) of navigation systems. However, carriers were less trusting with only 62 percent reporting that they were somewhat trusting or very trusting of navigation system accuracy. Additional findings excerpted from the source report are shown below.
- The majority of drivers (59 percent) made their own routing decisions and provided their own directions.
- Stand-alone navigation systems were the most commonly used method for providing directions to truck drivers (41 percent).
- Over half (60 percent) of the respondents use a navigation system on all of their trips, even if the driver is familiar with the route.
- Of the respondents who reported using a navigation system, most drivers used a system designed specifically for truck routes (54 percent). However, nearly one third (31 percent) used a system designed for use in a passenger vehicle.
- Of the drivers who reported that their carrier provided a navigation system, 80 percent stated that it was designed specifically for truck routes.
- The majority of carriers indicated that both the driver and the carrier have a role in planning a driver’s route for both pre-trip routing (58 percent) and route changes (57 percent).
- For trucks equipped with a navigation system provided by the carrier, stand-alone navigation units (50 percent) were most common, followed by embedded navigation systems (32 percent) and other navigation technologies such as a company provided smart-phone (19 percent).
- Approximately half of carriers (51 percent) allowed or encourage navigation system use.
- In general, carriers felt that the benefits of a navigation system outweighed the costs of providing the system.
- Among carriers who reported crashes due to a navigation system error, the most common error was directing the driver to a road unsuitable for trucks (41 percent) followed by navigating to roads with inadequate bridge/overpass clearance (34 percent).