Why GPS Tracking Matters for University Fleets

February 10, 2020

Across the country, more and more universities and educational institutions are implementing GPS tracking into their fleets. From student transportation shuttles to athlete transportation to motor pools, university fleets are made up of various unique vehicles, each of which serves a critical purpose for universities. But is tracking them worth the cost?

GPS tracking can have a significant return on investment (ROI) for university fleets. In addition to offering vehicle location tracking, telematics systems provide data on fuel consumption and idle times, fleet utilization, and safety metrics, all of which can help reduce costs and improve quality of service.

Read on to learn how a telematics system can help your university fleet improve your rider experience, increase student safety, and even save on insurance costs. 

Why is university transportation so important? 

The high cost of car ownership on college campuses coupled with a lack of reliable public transportation can make it challenging for students to safely and efficiently get around. Because of these limitations, dependable university transportation is critical for students to access food, healthcare, and job opportunities. 

Real-time visibility enables a better rider experience 

Due to the rise of ridesharing, students have come to expect real-time ETAs from all forms of transportation, including university transit. But without insights into the location and expected arrival time of university shuttles, students can be left without a reliable form of transportation.

With real-time GPS, universities are able to seamlessly notify students of real-time ETAs and maintain confidence in their service. When students can rely on accurate shuttle arrival times, rider sentiment increases which can help reduce complaint calls from students wondering when the next shuttle is going to arrive. Not only do real-time ETAs improve student’s trust in your service, but they also save a considerable amount of administrators’ time. 

Streamline administrative workload with one consolidated system 

In addition to tracking vehicle locations, tracking vehicle utilization and driver identities is critical for university fleet managers to keep their fleets safe and efficient. But when universities use multiple systems, matching this data can be a big administrative burden. 

Without a centralized system to track vehicle usage, administrators can spend hours trying to cross-reference timesheets with fuel purchase receipts and vehicle reservation requests to determine who was using a vehicle and when for what purpose. With a single consolidated system, all of your fleet data is in one place and your administrators can save hundreds of hours of administrative time.  

Ensure appropriate vehicle use 

For Joe D’Entremont, Fleet Services Manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), making sure that drivers are using university vehicles appropriately is paramount to ensuring that funds are spent appropriately and payroll is managed well. “We want to make sure drivers are staying on campus and not running private errands,” said D’Entremont. “GPS tracking allows us to keep track of our assets and make sure they are where they need to be.” 

MIT uses telematics to track over 100 of their facilities vehicles—from heavy-duty vans to dump trucks to golf carts, and GPS tracking gives the fleet department insights into vehicle locations, mileage, and idle times. 

GPS can help universities ensure that drivers are using vehicles only for their intended purpose, which can help cut down fuel costs and unnecessary wear and tear. 

Manage insurance risk and student safety 

By tracking the real-time locations and driver identities of university vehicles, university fleets can save thousands of dollars in insurance costs. In fact, many major insurance providers provide discounts for organizations with GPS trackers installed in their fleet because of the reduced risk of theft or loss. 

In addition to minimizing the risk of vehicle theft, GPS fleet tracking can give university fleet managers the insights they need to coach drivers on safe driving behaviors and how to avoid incidents that cause bumps and scratches. Since students are typically less experienced drivers, their risk of causing minor dings and dents can be much higher. Luckily, telematics systems allow fleet managers to track and reduce safety events such as harsh braking or rapid acceleration on campus which can help save on costs associated with several small incidents. 

With insight into driver behaviors, fleet managers are able to coach drivers on how to improve unsafe driving techniques and improve the safety of their fleet. 

Is fleet tracking worth it? 

For Greg Rivas, Director of Transportation Services at New York University (NYU), the value GPS tracking adds comes down to accountability and efficiency. “Being able to know the location of our vehicles without having to physically be there has made the biggest impact for our fleet.” 

Interested in implementing a GPS fleet tracking solution to your university fleet? Get a free trial today! 

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