Van Growth Drives Home Delivery

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the festive season coming closer, today we look at the way in which those on-screen clicks have fundamentally changed the traffic on our roads.

In the UK, a steady decline in heavy goods vehicles has led to the rise of the van. Smaller, more agile and capable of carrying a significant load in dense urban areas, the small to medium van is the largest sector of UK vehicle growth, lending itself perfectly for routes with regular stops such as parcel and grocery delivery. Such is their popularity, the number of vans on UK roads grew 33% between 2000 and 2014*, with van miles driven reaching 45 billion.

In the US, the size of geography means that heavy truck numbers have remained steady while vehicles for light loads split between vans and pickup trucks. Nevertheless the trend for van sales is still upwards with 17.4 million new vehicles set to hit the road this year, rising to 17.6 million by 2020.**

More vans = more emissions? Not necessarily…

With the introduction of city low emission zones and recent controversy relating to diesel engine calibration, there has been a very real move towards companies embracing electric powered vans, especially within towns. In the vanguard of this move is the postal, parcel and delivery sector, with operators such as the Royal Mail in the UK with 100 electric vans hitting the road in December 2017 and UPS in the US, who are looking to convert 1500 of its vehicles to electric serving New York City by 2020.

So what about navigation?

With electric vans still facing some limitations on battery range, using the optimal route has never been more important. With its portfolio of navigation and routing optimization options, ALK can provide vehicle specific solutions for vehicles of all sizes, thereby helping to turn those clicks to a delivery at your door.

*UK Department of Transport – Road Use Statistics 2016

UPS Wants to Convert 1,500 Delivery Trucks in NYC to Electric by 2020

Forecast the Road Ahead with Real-Time and Predictive Weather

Hurricanes along the gulf and eastern coasts, blizzards in the upper Midwest, tornadoes in the Great Plains, and severe heat waves in the west. No matter where your assets are, or what time of year it is, weather can have a serious impact on travel.


Did you know that traffic speeds on freeways can reduce as much as 13% with simply light rain and snow, and up to 40% with heavy snow?¹ Precipitation can also cause reduced visibility and slippery road surface conditions, resulting in vehicle traction issues, significantly increasing accident risk.


Weather conditions are constant – and constantly changing. Using real-time information and displays directly on a map can significantly reduce time spent manually researching using multiple systems to get the latest data, delays due to traffic as a result of weather conditions, and risks to driver safety.


Here are some of the weather overlays that can be deployed in various ALK solutions that will help you make the best business decision possible, while keeping drivers safe, and customers satisfied:


  • View real-time radar, color coded by severity, for areas affected by precipitation
  • Display a road surface condition layer, color coded by type, showing if roadways are wet, snow covered, or have ice
  • Weather alert areas, identified by colored polygons, showing winter weather advisories, severe wind, thunderstorms, flood warnings, etc. Alert details, including a short summary, effective and expiration times, and severity levels, are also provided







Remember, all of these overlays can be used on top of your route plans, so you can see the direct impact. From this information, you can decide how to best proceed.


The benefits of using weather data and display are clear as day… but here is a quick list, just in case:


  • Proactively detour drivers on safe, legal roads
  • Avoid costly delivery delays
  • Keep assets safe, drivers informed, and customers notified

Want more? Check out a detailed benefits list below:

After all, you can control your trucks, not the weather!


1 Road Weather Management Program,  US DOT FHA –

Princeton GIS Team Members Visit Chennai

Members from our Princeton GIS team had the opportunity to fly to our Chennai, India office for a two week visit.


Street in Chennai, India.
Erin, Mike and Mia with Jaghadesh, Chennai GIS Manager.

Since the Chennai team was created two years ago, managers both in the Princeton and Chennai office have been persistent about creating a more cohesive feel between both offices. And what better way to do that than to have team visits to the office! Mike, Mia and Erin can attest that this trip met it’s goal of getting to know our team on the other side of the world.


As one can imagine, not all roads are built like American roads and highways. Mike, Mia and Erin wanted to give the Chennai team a better understanding of what the road systems are like in North America. They also worked extensively on the conflation tool, which was designed in house and has been evolving over the last few years. 


Getting to know everyone in the Chennai office was also a vital objective of this trip. Will Bogetti and Andrew Singer were the first GIS members to visit the Chennai office when it only consisted of 15 members. They immediately saw the importance of having close ties among everyone on the team and wanted to ensure that they established and cultivated a strong relationship between both offices.



This trip accomplished just that! The Chennai team were very hospitable and made our Princeton GIS team feel right at home. Adarsh, GIS Lead of Alpha team at the Chennai office, even invited Mike, Mia and Erin over for dinner where him and his wife prepared a traditional south Indian meal served on a banana leaf.




Chennai’s smokey streets after a day of fireworks from Diwali.
Rangoli art lit with candles in the streets of Chennai during Diwali.

The Princeton team also happened to be visiting during Diwali, one of the most celebrated times of the year for India. Most people in India travel during this holiday to be with family and go to temple. However, Mike, Mia and Erin were able to celebrate the holiday with some GIS team members in Chennai and experience the culture it brings.


Throughout the day there were lots of fireworks, food, sweets and gifts. There was also a lot of Rangoli displayed on the streets of Chennai, which is sand art that decorates the streets during Diwali.







The Princeton GIS team thoroughly enjoyed themselves visiting our India office! The experience was one of a kind and it was due to the great hospitality that was provided from our Chennai team. We look forward to hosting members of our Chennai office in the near future!

Fuel Efficient Trucking 101

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that,

​”Twenty-seven percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is from transportation. Transportation is the second leading source of GHG emissions in the United States, just behind electricity. Between 1990 and 2015, GHG emissions in the transportation sector increased more in absolute terms than any other sector.” Source

More specifically, medium and heavy duty trucks contribute to 6.21% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US. But since the trucking industry is a vital backbone of the US economy, how can we reduce emissions, whilst continuing to move the industry forward and save costs for trucking companies?

Emissions generated by the trucking industry are not just an environmental concern: fuel efficiency also saves hard-earned dollars. In an industry where profit margins are getting ever smaller, every diesel drop counts.

How Fuel Efficient Trucking Can Help Your Business

In the last few years, regulations regarding emissions in the trucking industry have become stricter. Additionally, diesel prices have been on the rise again in recent months and since fossil fuels are a finite resource, this is an additional long term concern. Increased fuel efficiency, which reduces emissions, is not just a way to address environmental concerns, but also a way to save dollars. Besides, consumers are increasingly taking into account sustainability when making purchase decisions. Supply chain sustainability certificates such as SmartWay (EPA) can give companies an edge over their competitors.

USEPA SmartWay Logo

From Theory To Practice

Enough with the gray theory….how can we put increased fuel efficiency into practice? Big companies as diverse as Walmart and Tesla are looking at ways to make trucking more efficient. Several models of hybrid trucks and fully electric trucks are being tested or are already deployed on the streets. Additionally, the design of a truck can help reduce fuel consumption by using aerodynamic modelling. Another aspect is engine efficiency and using filters to reduce emissions.

However, not everyone can immediately afford to purchase the newest hybrid truck on the market. Fortunately, there are some practical tips in  getting more miles out of a full tank. First, removing additional weight from the truck helps reduce overall fuel costs. Second, maintaining a steady speed while driving, using cruise control and minimizing idling time, will help the trucker decrease fuel consumption. And finally, planning efficient routes with dedicated truck-specific GPS navigation will limit out-of-route mileage.

How Can CoPilot Truck Increase Your Fuel Efficiency?

CoPilot Truck allows you to plan trips that are optimized for your vehicle, your load, and the number of stops you need to make. Save money by reducing fuel usage with less time wasted on out-of-route miles. In addition, you can enter up to 100 stops and CoPilot Truck will calculate the most efficient route by organizing the stops into the most logical order.


How Mapping & Navigation Tools Ensure Every Child Gets to and from School Safely

Did you know that school bus carriers operate the largest mass transportation fleet in the country with an estimated 480,000 yellow school buses traveling across the U.S. daily? In fact, the average school bus fleet is 2.5 times the size of all other forms of mass transportation combined! With 26 million students being transported on school buses everyday,  mapping and navigation for fleets and drivers is critical1.


Fleets with buses have a unique set of challenges:

  • Specific pick-up and drop off time windows
  • Need for efficient routing for bus utilization and quick, real-time route recalculation if a detour is required
  • Quick response  when a maintenance issue or emergency arises
  • Staying on-time by avoiding traffic and unsafe road conditions
  • Substitute driver learning curve
  • Parents or guardians wanting current location information or school arrival confirmation for their child(ren)


Mapping and navigation technology can have a significant positive impact on fleets who need to address these challenges in order to make their operations more efficient. From live visualization of bus locations to giving drivers voice guided turn-by-turn directions, fleets can build customized solutions that route and monitor buses or integrate navigation for efficiency, safety, and compliance.

We’ve worked with fleets and partners who specialize in K-12. Here are some of ALK’s mapping and routing features that have been built and incorporated to create a custom solution:


Mapping & Routing Examples

  • Build multi-stop route plans with advanced route optimization that incorporates stop time windows as well as side of street routing
  • Real-time tracking and monitoring of vehicles that include ETAs
  • Current traffic and weather display, including actual road surface conditions (wet, slippery, etc.) for advanced planning around potential delays and dangerous areas
  • Street-level satellite map views
  • Geofencing boundaries and locations for alerts when a driver enters or exits a pre-defined area
  • Route compliance and performance analysis, down to each bus


A companion solution to our web-based mapping and routing platform is CoPilot Professional, ALK’s voice guided, turn-by-turn GPS navigation. Built using the same location engine at its core, CoPilot will generate the same route plans with vehicle-specific restrictions, notify drivers of upcoming traffic congestion, and provide realistic ETAs.


  • Improved driver adoption and overall safety with a driver friendly user interface designed to reduce driver distraction
  • Seamless integration with leading fleet management solutions providing accurate ETAs to parents, schools or driver managers
  • Ideal for substitute drivers, new drivers and field trips
  • On-board maps stored locally on the device, providing offline navigation with quick route calculation and automatic re-route calculation


Our K-12 expert, Jon Spiewak, is currently at the NAPT (National Association for Pupil Transportation) 43rd Annual Summit. Get a guided tour of our mapping and navigation solutions on Tuesday, November 7 at booth 338.



ALK October Round-Up


Our North America team exhibited at three trade shows in October: MercuryGate User Conference in Las Vegas, National Tank Truck Week in New Orleans, and ATA Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando. There was a good showing at each which made for a busy month before travel begins to slow down.


Mid-October has been a busy time for our EU team as well, with several events happening simultaneously in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

In total, our French and German teams have been participating in the three following events within three days:


The 3PL Summit (Venlo, The Netherlands) is Europe’s annual meeting of the leading C-Level 3PL executives and their CSCO supply chain counterparts, attended by over 400 senior supply chain and logistics executives every year, making it an unmissable event.


Mobility for Business (Paris, France) is a French show that has been running for eight years and appealing to builders, editors, software integrators, operators and buyers from the connected mobility sector. It is the only French show dedicated to mobile solutions for companies, collectivises and administrations.

Movilizer Days (Mannheim, Germany) is a yearly Honeywell event during which participants learn how Honeywell Movilizer Cloud and IoT solutions deliver value in the Connected Supply Chain and for Connected Industrial Workers. It gives them an opportunity to network, learn, challenge and see how enterprise mobility can transform their business.


Each one of these shows, whether we were exhibiting or only visiting, has been an opportunity to advertise ALK’s new Plan. Drive. Analyze campaign around Europe.

Our business developers have been working hard to meet partners, new prospects and raise awareness around our high end navigation and route optimization solutions.


The GIS team from our Princeton office took a trip to our Chennai office in India this month. They had a great time with the Chennai team both in and outside of the office (more of that to come on the blog!)


To end the month, we had our third Raise the Bar event of the year which was a hit in both our Princeton and London offices. Each office had a guest speaker that spoke about the trucking industry and the importance of precise navigation and planning routes. We also had the opportunity to discuss the challenges they face when on the road. To complete the experience, both offices had the chance to try out a driving simulator to get an idea of what it is actually like to be behind the wheel of a truck!



Behind the Wheel: A Raise the Bar Event

 ALK’s Behind the Wheel event was a huge success and took place on October 30th in both the Princeton and London office.




In our London office, Marcus Newport, Director of IT at Aspray24, gave our team a presentation on how CoPilot improved the efficiency of his company and shared very interesting metrics and feedback related to the truck drivers’ experiences with our product.

Receiving one of our major British partners allowed the entire European team to understand more about how CoPilot can integrate within a company’s strategy and what kind of issues truck drivers face on a daily basis.




Our Princeton office was so excited to have Allen Boyd and Stephen Richardson, two of America’s Road Team Captains, guest speak at our Behind the Wheel event! They spoke about how long they have been in the trucking industry, valuable lessons learned and the importance of planning in their daily life on the road. We had the chance to experience what it is like being behind the wheel of a truck by trying the driving simulator of the 80 foot Interstate One truck, provided by American Trucking Association.



This Raise the Bar event gave our team valuable insight on what it’s like being behind the wheel as a truck driver. We look forward to having more events similar to Behind the Wheel to ensure we are on-top of needs to the trucking industry.


ALK Road Closure Alert: Detroit-Windsor Tunnel

Closure will take place from October 20 at 8 p.m. until October 30 at 5:30 a.m. Click here for additional closure information.

The maps in the following ALK solutions have been automatically updated to reflect the road closure:

  • PC*MILER Web Services
  • ALK Maps
  • PC*MILER Web

PC*MILER desktop customers:
We suggest you use the “Avoid Roads” feature to bypass the road closure. For complete instructions on how to use the feature, please reference Chapter 12 of the PC*MILER User Guide.

The “Avoid Roads” feature can be found in the “Tools” tab.


On the map, the cursor will now appear with a minus or plus sign. Click on the road segment(s) to be avoided.


IMPORTANT: Your avoid/favor preferences will affect routing only when Routing Preferences > Custom Roads > Use Avoid/Favors is selected in the Route Options dialog or current route profile. This option is turned off by default.

Done! You’ll now be routed around the road closure.

Operation Safe Driving Week – What YOU can do to help

Today kicks off Operation Safe Driving Week in North America and we have compiled a few tips on how you can do your part improving road safety!


The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, or CVSA, started Operation Safe Driver Week in 2014. Since it has started, the number of vehicles law enforcement have pulled over has gone down, speeding has decreased by 6.3% and this all results in less accidents on the road [source].


However, there is still one big piece that the CVSA wants to highlight to all driver’s that would help decrease the amount of accidents on the road for both commercial and passenger vehicles.


The single largest factor of traffic crashes are due to distracted driving. The CVSA shared that driver behavior is the critical reason for more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of private passenger-vehicle crashes. The main focus of Safe Driving Week is to educate all drivers on ways to improve road safety and that starts with managing or eliminating distractions while on the road.


So, how can you help?

Help defeat distracted driving and improve not only your safety on the road but also the other driver’s around you.

Here are some tips:

  • Adjust mirrors and lighting before entering the traffic flow. Maybe even before leaving your driveway.
  • Program directions into the GPS before putting your vehicle into gear.
  • Eat a healthy meal before you get on the road to avoid eating while driving.
  • Turn your cell phone off or put it on silent so it does not distract you while driving (Texting while driving had 23 times more the risk of being involved in an accident )


While we are only recognizing it this week, we hope that everyone practices every time you get on the road.

Blue Dot and ALK Technologies Partner to Deliver Driver Workflow Innovation

Unified mobile app brings a revolutionized driver experience

Denver, Colorado – October 11, 2017 – Blue Dot and ALK Technologies® have joined forces to deliver a new innovative driver workflow solution that enables fleets to improve the driver experience, reduce driver turnover and enforce fleet-wide driver standard operating procedures.

Distinctly Different Driver Centric Mobile App

Blue Dot’s MilesAhead™ DRIVE app uses the powerful ALK® Maps mapping platform as its foundation for commercial vehicle route and map visualization. MilesAhead overlays a LEAN Six Sigma-optimized driver circle-of-service workflow that manages the wide range of driver job tasks that occur both inside and outside the cab for planned and unplanned stops alike. Implementing a comprehensive driver-centric mobile app that is distinctively different from the “grid-of-apps” design approach that is so commonplace in the market today will positively impact drivers’ lives on the road both professionally and personally, said Mick Milnark, co-founder of Blue Dot.

Seamless Tablet Application

Leveraging ALK’s suite of integration tools, Blue Dot has embedded the CoPilot Truck application directly into its MilesAhead Drive unified application for seamless access to voice-guided navigation and industry standard routing. Blue Dot is the first ALK partner to incorporate the ALK Maps platform with real-time traffic display, street-level satellite view and weather and radar overlays into a tablet application.

Capitalizing on Shared Technologies

“Teaming with an innovative company like Blue Dot accelerates our shared strategy to capitalize on and bring to market our unique and compelling technologies,” said Dan Popkin, senior vice president, enterprise solutions, ALK Technologies.  “We’re thrilled that our first project together involves delivering an unprecedented solution that combines advanced driver workflow concepts with deeply integrated routing and mapping capabilities.”

See it today: Watch the Video.

For more information: Join Blue Dot & ALK for a webinar on the Driver Experience Revolutionized:

Press Contact: Gary Blohm Cell 303 359-9960

About Blue Dot

Blue Dot is a global enterprise mobile software, products and services company that delivers innovative mobile technology and solutions along with an IoT platform strategy to fleet transportation organizations. At the core, Blue Dot helps fleet transportation organizations move on from their costly technical debt, so they can both survive and evolve in the changing industry competitive landscape. Visit:

About ALK

ALK Technologies is a transportation technology company dedicated to defining the optimal route to success through innovative routing, mileage, mapping and mobile navigation solutions. From trusted industry standard data to seamless integration, ALK solutions are developed for a broad range of industries, workforces, and everyday drivers on the road. For over 35 years, its suite of powerful solutions, including PC*MILER, CoPilot, and ALK Maps, have set the foundation for safe and efficient journeys worldwide – one mile, one driver, one vehicle at a time. ALK is a Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) Company and part of its international Transportation and Logistics Division, visit: