It was a successful few days in late July that marked the official training of Houston Independent School District Fleet Safety personnel by the Ecodriving Solutions crew of master Ecodriving trainers.

The goal?

Help the HISD 1,000 driver strong fleet to save 5% in their annual fuel usage.

The result?

Well, we are still waiting to see what the safety trainers are able to get their drivers to do – we’ll know more after about a year.

But, if the training of the safety personnel themselves is any indication, HISD stands to save money in 2013, and a lot of it.

After comparing multiple drives of a pre determined course in school buses with and without utilizing just learnt Ecodriving techniques, the results were… well… staggeringly good.

The 16 drivers that EDS trained were able to achieve an astonishing average improvement in their fuel economy in the buses of 15.6%.

The fleet operates some 1,000 buses. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that anything even close to that number, if it can be successfully taught to and applied by the school bus operators themselves, is going to have an enormous positive financial and environmental impact.

How did we do it?

By a combination of in-vehicle coaching and in-classroom instruction with a variety of teaching materials.

Will these results be what HISD should expect from the rest of their fleet?

Probably not -

Historically, fleets that operate with heavy duty vehicles like the one HISD operates, see returns after Ecodriving training more on the order of 5%-9%.

Why the discrepancy then?

1 – Immediate time frame between instruction and application – When people first learn how to properly Ecodrive, they are very much committed to getting the most out of it. As time goes on, the percentage of improvement from the original baseline often drops. But, there is almost always a sustainable improvement in the long run, and depending on the fuel your fleet uses, that 5% could mean some serious money.

2 – Training world versus the real world –  In training, there are simply some aspects of the daily route that we can’t duplicate. We always stress balance in our EDS training. That means that while fuel savings is a goal, and a reduction in carbon footprint is a great thing, they must be balances with safety, and in this particular case, comfort of the students on the bus.

That means that there are going to be times where a school bus operator might actually be encouraged to idle their bus with the air conditioning on.

Does that save fuel?

No, but….

On a 100 degree day in Houston, keeping the air on to keep the kids comfortable and safe is key.

Getting that balance right will be part of a successful implementation.

And, if HISD can get somewhere between 5% and 7% fuel savings, which is something we at Ecodriving Solutions believe is absolutely possible, the financial benefit to the district and the carbon reduction for the city will both be noteworthy!

We’ll know more about how things work out for HISD later next year, and you can bet we are going to share it with you.

Best of luck HISD!

Ecodriving – it works.


About Mike Speck

Lead facilitator and Master Ecodriving trainer for Ecodriving Solutions.
This entry was posted in Ecodriving, Increase Fuel Savings, Reduce Carbon Footprint, Safe Driving, Train & Engage Employees and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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