Some parts of the country and world have already seen their fair share of unpleasant weather recently. Whether it’s snow, rain, sleet, or a wintry mix, it’s important to stay informed and make appropriate decisions when traveling this winter season. Safety is essential. As we enter the unpredictable winter months, consider how using technology can help you stay safe for the roads ahead.
Consider this: You’re driving along in your semi, transporting XYZ across the Midwest, when all of a sudden you’re in the midst of a fury of freezing rain. You know you shouldn’t continue driving since the roads are now getting slippery and dangerous, but where can you stop and park until the storm passes? Mapping and in-cab navigation technology can help you locate and navigate to nearby Points of Interest (POIs), such as rest areas, truck stops, and parking locations on safe, truck-legal roads. Drivers can also be notified of traffic buildups caused by weather-related accidents and select an alternate route to avoid high-risk areas.
Knowledge is Power: For back office planners, technology is available that allows for real-time weather alerting, notifying dispatchers if planned or future routes will be affected by impending weather conditions. With this insight, decisions can be made to re-route, delay or modify plans to keep drivers safe and customers up-to-date on delivery times.
Technology plays a key role in the transportation industry and provides powerful data insight for better decision making. Using technology to address weather-related issues during the winter is key for operational success. It also ensures we keep our precious commodities safe, the most important being our drivers.
And for everyone traveling on the road this winter, here are some helpful winter driving tips to keep in mind to avoid any surprises in your travels.
Visualization provides better understanding of asset utilization, safety and service
Princeton, N.J. – November 30, 2015 – ALK Technologies, a Trimble Company and global leader in GeoLogistics® solutions and navigation software, today announced that ALK® Maps, a web-based, customizable interactive mapping platform providing high-quality visualization, has added new map overlays that provide superior route planning and data insight for increased operational efficiency.
“ALK Maps continues to expand its product offerings to meet customer demand for map visualization across all industries,” said Rishi Mehra, director of web products at ALK Technologies. “Our new capabilities provide tools not only for enhanced transportation route planning, but also for improved strategic decision making. By transforming operational data from numbers to visual, actionable intelligence, ALK Maps can enable businesses to improve their efficiency, productivity and decision making.”
Enhancing its already robust set of features and functionality, ALK Maps’ new visualization overlays include:
View traffic occurrences, including accidents, roadwork and weather-related events, identified by an icon directly on the map. The new traffic incident layer provides visibility of potential impacts or delays for current or future routes to improve asset utilization and operational efficiency with more accurate ETAs and re-routing of affected drivers.
Drive Time Polygons
Generate and display polygon boundaries showing how far a driver can travel within an indicated length of time (maximum 120 minutes) from a specified origin or location. Drive time capacity insight within a given geographic area allows companies to ensure appointment times and service commitments are met. It also can increase mobile workforce efficiency by providing data that allows companies to complete more jobs per day or locate truck stops and maintenance facilities in a specific area.
Elevation routing helps to ensure pressure-sensitive goods are delivered safely, and prevents cargo damage by avoiding roads above a certain elevation. Fewer gradient road changes may also result in fuel efficiency and lessen environmental impact with reduced gas emissions.
Highlight U.S. state and Canadian provincial boundaries, as well as U.S. county and zip code boundaries, allowing users to analyze regional data or view assets in localized groupings.
For more information on ALK Maps visit: www.alkmaps.com.
About ALK Technologies
ALK Technologies, a Trimble Company and global leader in GeoLogistics solution and navigation software, is focused on developing innovative solutions for transportation, logistics, mobile workforces and consumers. Product lines include PC*MILER, CoPilot and ALK Maps. PC*MILER is widely recognized as a transportation industry standard for routing, mileage and mapping in North America. CoPilot is a leading source of GPS navigation software for fleets, mobile operators, hardware OEMs, system integrators, professional drivers and consumers. ALK Maps is a development platform designed for the transportation industry and provides commercial routing, geocoding and mapping visualization for enterprise applications.
As technology continues to advance, people and organizations around the world are better understanding how to utilize the power of geography. Geographic Information Systems, also known as GIS, can be applied to anything that is understood and represented spatially. Today on GIS Day, we take the time to reflect on how ALK Technologies incorporates GIS into its software and how it is used within the transportation industry.
The roots of GIS can be traced back to the creation of the first maps in ancient Greece around 2300 BC. Since then, they have brought together information and displayed it in a way that can be interpreted spatially. The world has continued to build its databases by exploring new territories and have recorded that data to be shared. The development of computers and the ability to store information digitally has changed the way we analyze and display geographic information. This shift from traditional cartography and paper maps to digital information, software, and new data collection services has allowed GIS to grow at an exponential rate.
GIS is essential to ALK because without it, we would not be able to create, maintain, and enhance the many transportation road network databases that we do. Our main goal is to assist professional truck drivers with the safest, most optimal truck specific routes that have the lowest cost, as well as being attentive to special restrictions, such as bridge heights and clearances, weight limits, and hazmat. GIS supports spatially related operations and is used to build our GPS navigation. The transportation industry has embraced GIS as an important tool in managing, planning, evaluating, and maintaining transportation systems.
All of the departments at ALK work together to create and distribute the most accurate spatial data information to enhance navigation with innovative trucking solutions using ALK’s mapping platform. We manage our data in QGIS, which is an open-source desktop GIS application. This software gives us the capability to view, edit, and analyze our data in real-time. Our dedicated Princeton GIS team is currently made up of 16 people who work on updating data around the world. We are a bright and dynamic group with a genuine interest in the GIS/GPS mapping industry. We also have newly expanded our GIS team to Chennai.
GIS surrounds us every day. So next time you find yourself making decisions, remember that most of the situations can be geographically referenced, such as looking at a map to plan where to gas up, researching cost of living in various states, or even listening to directions on your smartphone.
Written by: Michael Farrell, GIS Technician; Kamille Preto, GIS Technician; and Alyssa Wentz, GIS Technician
November 11th is a day of commemoration around the world to the men and women who have fought bravely throughout history. This day of gratitude is known by different names depending on country, for example, it is known as Armistice Day in parts of Europe and Remembrance Day in Canada. Remembrance Sunday is also celebrated each year in the United Kingdom on the second Sunday of November.
Join us in thanking and saluting those men and women, both domestically and internationally, who have courageously fought for their countries.
ALK Technologies stands and salutes the millions of American veterans who have so bravely fought for our country. We thank our veterans for all they have done and continue to do in order for us to live freely.
Veterans are all around us – you just may not recognize them without their uniforms. They’re among us as construction workers, engineers, and very commonly, truck drivers! In fact, 32% of veterans between the ages of 45-54, as well as 31% between the ages of 55-64, are employed in the transportation industry. Just as they moved America forward during their time in the service, they continue to do so on roads and highways across the country, safely delivering essential goods for our daily lives.
Hiring our Heroes is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation that helps veterans and transitioning service men and women find employment. Join us in donating to this meaningful foundation and help make a difference in the life of a veteran and their family.
Recently, we’ve been hearing more and more about the stresses that truck drivers have to face while on the road. Situations like getting lost, being late to a delivery, or driving in unsafe weather conditions, can have a huge impact on a driver’s attitude and stress level. Can you imagine the pressure of getting thousands of dollars worth of goods delivered safely and on time to keep customers satisfied?
Stress is the result when one has to deal with change and can create substantial effects on the body, such as:
- Upset stomach
- Elevated blood pressure
- Loss of sleep
Fact: Approximately 1/4th of U.S. commercial truck drivers on America’s roads report experiencing sleep apnea.
Alleviating some of the day-to-day stress can lead to increased job satisfaction and better retention overall. Let technology help! Here’s a few situations where using technology can lead to less stress.
Use in-cab navigation: it’s an instant relief to drivers! Using truck-specific, voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions decreases the likelihood of a driver missing a turn or taking a non-truck legal road. Navigation provides more accurate ETAs and can even go as far as to communicate with the back office for real time updates, eliminating manual calls. Drivers want to drive, not plan!
Pre-plan HOS breaks: With the increased Hours of Service (HOS) mandates the trucking industry has recently seen, there is a heightened focus on when and for how long drivers can schedule breaks. Without proper calculations and insight, some drivers are forced to make these decisions themselves, leading them to choose the wrong location or break for an incorrect amount of time, ultimately impacting their scheduled delivery times. Fleet Managers or dispatchers can utilize pre-planning systems that factor break times directly into the drivers’ planned routes. This eliminates any pressure the drivers feel on making impactful decisions.
Be aware of impending weather: Driving a vehicle in an area affected by severe weather conditions is stressful for any driver. Using a visualization tool in the back office where weather overlays are displayed directly on a map along with current or future route plans allows fleet managers to accurately assess potential delivery or safety impacts. Recently, Transport America implemented such an alert system, setting up automated emails to be sent directly to Fleet Leaders whose trucks are affected by weather systems and when and if conditions change. This allowed managers to notify drivers ahead of the impact or safely re-route them if necessary, alleviating driver anxiety. (Read Transport America’s Case Study)
In the unpredictable industry of trucking, ALK Technologies strives to create solutions that help drivers navigate, manage their hours of service, and avoid unsafe weather conditions. In decreasing overall driver stress and anxiety, the ultimate payoff is safer roads for all travelers.
This past Wednesday, October 28th, we hosted our first-ever, off-site Interactive Training Program in Harrisburg, PA. The half-day program was targeted towards current customers and prospective users, focusing on the features and functionality of our products as well as how to most effectively utilize them. The sessions were led by those who know the products best, our Product Managers!
Jeff Sibio, Director of Implementation | Jaspreet Singh, Senior Project Manager | Kara Jo O’Neil, Senior Product Manager
Some of the session topics included:
- Customizing PC*MILER to Improve Your Efficiency and Productivity
- CoPilot Truck & RouteSync in Depth
- Solving Compliance Challenges with PC*MILER’s HOS Manager
- Web-Based Application Options for Specialized Integrations
We’re looking to expand!
ALK is the process of adding additional Interactive Training Programs to various locations around the country for 2016. If you’re interested in learning more about how your company can benefit from from attending and/or using our products, contact Dana Petrone, Senior Marketing Manager at email@example.com today!
Do you have any ideas on training topics that would be beneficial? We always want to hear our customer’s feedback. Tell us what you think!
SAVE THE DATE!