Now that we are just over a month into 2022, let’s take a look at the hot transportation topics for this year.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a United States federal statute enacted by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021. It provides the U.S. Department of Transportation over $100 billion in discretionary funding for 2022.
While we are all excited about funding for roads, bridges, etc., the going is slow. The Transportation Department must set metrics for new project awards. Then the department is required to issue Notices of Funding Opportunities, Request for Proposals, evaluate these proposals, and select winning proposals to fund.
And that takes place at the federal level. The States will decide how to allocate their share of the funds, similarly, setting metrics, issuing RFPs, and their decision and award process.
All these steps could delay some of the spending until late 2022, into 2023 and beyond. We will continue to monitor how this spending impacts our much-needed transportation infrastructure and report back on updates.
Clearly, electric vehicles are already moving into the consumer market, but how much is this technology being adopted in the commercial vehicle market?
Commercial electric vehicles continue take the spotlight in annual truck previews. More companies are investing in greener fleets, growing the demand for electric (or hybrid) commercial vehicles. The zero-emission delivery space continues to intensify, and more OEMs are racing to fill the demand.
However, the chip shortage has significantly hampered the roll-out of new trucks. Navistar announced the launch of its new fully electric International eMV Series trucks. Volvo’s VNR Electric model has been deployed in numerous fleets in the U.S. While Hino is building a Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck as part of its Project Z initiative, it is also working with Allison Transmissions on an integrated design with eGen Power 100D eAxle for Class 6, 7, and 8 battery electric vehicles. Other manufacturers moving into next-generation vehicles include BYD, Daimler/Freightliner, Lion Electric, Chanje, Nikola Motors, Rivian, Tesla, and Workhorse.
Concerns over how the grid will handle commercial electric fleets, chip shortages, and evolving technologies make for a lot of 2022 news, but not necessarily a lot of commercial electric vehicles sold this year.
Nearly everything has a higher price since the pandemic and transportation services are no exception. Rates are escalating, carriers are controlling capacity, and the shortage of drivers all are leaving fleet managers struggling this year.
The good news is that forecasting tools and fleet management software are getting more of the spotlight. Making the best use of current resources helps companies to focus on efficiencies. With the right information and proper visualization tools, real-time data brings a competitive edge to transport companies.
Never before have there been so many sources of data that allow for the optimization of fleet usage, fleet routes, maintenance schedules, and more.
Driver Shortage Concerns
We have heard the news of driver shortages and now there are some steps to help curb this problem. Proposed legislative and regulatory changes could lower the eligibility age from 21 to 18 for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In addition, more driver training will take place at the community college level and through private vocational training organizations.
Retention efforts are also underway, offering drivers higher pay, better benefits and working conditions, and offering better security for female drivers. Retention is a great way to balance the need for drivers with the need to make safety a priority.
Electronic Logging Devices
ELD technology has been around for years. However, only since 2017 have in-cab telematics been mandated for long-haul commercial drivers. Telematics help to enforce laws that prohibit drivers from working too many hours and becoming fatigued behind the wheel.
While ELDs measure driver hours, they also do so much more. They can monitor the vehicle for maintenance needs, alert drivers to impeding road conditions, gather information on unsafe driving habits, help with traffic or parking needs, and other similar functions. Dashboard cameras are also another great feature, serving to gather information in the event of an accident and provide data for claims remediation. Insurance companies are rewarding transport companies with lower rates as these tools help reduce risks.
Need a Little Guidance
There are a lot of moving parts to the transportation industry. It’s likely that you are focused on delivering a good experience to your customers. Let experts in the field help you achieve that goal with lower expenses, better performance, and all the right tools to continually improve.