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

ALK Blog Series #2: Staying Safe in Winter Weather Driving Conditions

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.

truck1  truck2 truck3

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.

Safe travels!

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GIS Day – Using Maps to Navigate Safely & Efficiently Around the World

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.

Princeton, New Jersey GIS Team

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.

Chennai, India GIS Team

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

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Make Booth 18158 Your #1 POI at GATS


We care about drivers and their safety. That’s why we’ve created CoPilot Truck. Our unique offering provides drivers:

  • Safe, reliable, truck-specific navigation
  • Voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions
  • Map data stored directly on your device without the need for a mobile data connection

Our experts are in in Dallas, Texas at GATS from 10AM-5PM today and tomorrow at Booth #18158.

Visit our booth for a CoPilot Truck GPS Navigation app discount code of 33% off and leave with some cool freebies! You can even enter to win the CoPilot Truck app for free while you’re at it!

Sale price is for a limited time only – don’t miss out on connection to real-time ActiveTraffic™ and millions of truck specific POIs.

Want CoPilot Truck? Download Now

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