On-board eco-driving applications that encourage optimal shifting and acceleration rates can improve fuel economy up to 12 percent.

An evaluation of the potential of an on-board eco-driving application.

Nationwide,United Kingdom

Summary Information

This study evaluated the potential of an on-board eco-driving application designed to help commercial vehicle drivers improve engine performance and reduce fuel consumption. The system used in-vehicle auditory and visual alerts to encourage drivers to shift gears at optimal engine speeds and limit acceleration rates.

Field trials were conducted in the United Kingdom where the system was installed in 15 light commercial vehicles (Ford Transit vans) owned by seven different companies. Installation was relatively simple as the system was integrated into the CAN-bus system and instrument cluster of each vehicle. Drivers were provided with a gear shift indicator (GSI) light and an auditory alert (short beep) when upshifting was appropriate. If the system perceived drivers as non-compliant over a specified grace period, calculated by a core system algorithm, then a violation notice was recorded for management review.


Performance data were collected in each vehicle two weeks before and two weeks after the system was activated. During the "before" period drivers were not aware of the device. During the "after" period, drivers were familiarized with the system, however, eco-driving training was not provided.

Overall, 39,300 km of trip data were collected representing 1,107 hours of driving and 5,587 trips. Data recorded by on-board computer systems included vehicle speed, throttle position, engine speed, engine load, engine fueling demand, and engine coolant temperature. Vehicles that experienced prolonged idle times exceeding 90 seconds had to have these data removed from the data set to prevent skewing of results.

  • Overall, the system encouraged drivers to upshift earlier and spend significantly more time at lower engine speeds resulting in less fuel consumption and less emissions with no negative impacts on average vehicle speed or journey times.
  • On average, fuel consumption (weighted by the distance travelled by each vehicle) was reduced by 7.61 percent ranging from a minimum 0.43 percent savings to a maximum of 12.03 percent savings. The wide range was attributed to some drivers being very conservative at the start and leaving little room for change, or variations in drive cycle conditions that greatly favored some vehicles.

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Development and Field Trial of a Driver Assistance System to Encourage Eco-driving in Light Commercial Vehicle Fleets

Author: Vagg, Christopher,

Published By: University of Bath

Source Date: 06/01/2013

Other Reference Number: IEEE ITS Vol.14, Issue 2, pp. 796-805



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Benefit ID: 2014-00941