Feedback to driver by sound, lights or screen can give a remarkably different Ecodriving result

This study is produced for IHM Business School (Jacob Rudin) and the aim of the study was to compare the results of using different methods of feedback to the driver on his/her driver behavior. The methodology used was interviews with drivers during a 2 weeks period. The results of the study are published below. The two different suppliers of systems below are Traffilog and Pilotfish


Jacob Rudin


The results indicate that the drivers prefer a system that provides feedback on driving behavior through a screen. At the end of this article you will find the statistics and results emanating from this study. The following information was given as feedback to the interviewer during the interviews:

  1. The driver want to get information on what behavior they should improve
  2. The driver wants a system that provides similar results in different types of buses
  3. The driver wants the system to provide fair results in different types of traffic



In order to identify what kind feedback to the drivers gives the best result, I have chosen to interview drivers in public transport. There are a lot of research that proves how much an entire business saves by using an eco-driving system. In this case the focus is on what the driver’s think about their own result and on their use of the eco-driving systems. For a system to work and give as good results as possible, it is imperative that the drivers use the system properly and for the drivers to trust and really make the effort to improve their driving.  

The problem in many cases is that drivers for various reasons are dissatisfied with their work situation. This can affect their views on the eco-driving system too. It could also be that the system is perceived as misleading, the management lacks clear objectives with the system, no incentives, poor training, no follow-up or that the drivers simply do not think they need that type of support.

The attempt with this research was to keep a neutral perspective. Each and every answer is anonymously marked and the material is collected and used for the statistics only. These efforts were made for the drivers to respond as objectively and honestly as possible.


Picture above: Interview with a driver (not related to this study)

The driving environment for a bus driver in today’s public transport vehicles are in many cases equipped with a variety of screens and lights (LED or other) that the driver must take into account. Unfortunately it sometimes reaches to a point where to wonders if it really is roadworthy with that many elements that may take the driver’s attention off the road.
It is therefore particularly important that each separate unit in the instrument panel presents relevant and sufficient information for it to be useful for the driver and not just a disturbance that steals focus from the road.
Therefore, we have chosen to ask the question:
“If you as a driver are helped by the feedback given by the system?”

 It is important that the system has as few disturbing elements as possible, that the drivers find the system credible and that they can rely on the feedback provided. If the system gives different results in different buses, for example, from various vehicle brands or different years of model, frustration can easily occur where it could be felt that some drivers may be harder to achieve their goals than others.
Therefore, we decided to ask:
“How correct do you think that eco-driving system measures your performance?” 

There is several eco-driving system on the market with similar functions and objectives, to reduce wear-and-tear, reduce fuel consumption and increase the comfort for the passengers. The systems may differ, due to the suppliers/systems focus on different problem areas.
Different companies have different ways of presenting feedback during and after the performed driving in reports. The most common tools for the driver is to give feedback to the driver through a screen, diodes, or sounds (beeps).
Also the use of incentives varies between bus operator companies.

The results:

The goal with this research is to get an objective answer on what type of feedback the drivers themselves prefer and to enlighten what results the drivers think that this gives for the bus operator companies.

Monday, 5/18-15, we started to go to Nettbuss depot in Gothenburg on Bergslagsgatan 6 where line 100, Red and Orange Express is situated. They currently use a system from Falck Sirius, sub-supplied by Israelian company Traffilog, which measures the bus body´s movements in multiple axis, acceleration and deceleration. It is up to the driver to drive as smooth as possible. If the driver exceeds the limits set in the system, it will create an “event” which also is visible on a diode ramp mounted in the control panel.

The drivers receives information on their result by a set of coloured lights (orange in this case) which means that the driver performs “Medium”. If the driver is more aggressive they will get red light, which means that they drive “Bad”. The diode panel is constantly shine blue as long as the driver drives well  “Good”. The outcomes are recorded and presented in monthly reports.

All drivers must log into the system with a personal tag in order to start the bus. The system begins beeping after a few seconds if the driver does not log in.
Nettbuss has no bonus system for its drivers, the savings goes to the company.

The interviews were made with 49 Nettbuss driver in the Gothenburg area.


Nettbuss gave an average score of the above stated questions:
Eco-driving: 5.9 (1-10 where 10 is best)
The driver’s place (feedback): 5.3 (1-10 where 10 is best)


Tuesday, 5/19 and Wednesday, 5/20, we visited Borås Lokaltrafik AB (BLAB) at Svenljungagatan 39 in Borås and Uddevalla Omnibus on Södra Järnvägsgatan 2 in Uddevalla. They use an eco-driving system from Pilotfish Networks. The system calculates the dynamic consumption in terms of fuel consumption, over speed, coasting and braking. Comfort is also measured by an accelerometer. The driver gets feedback from a screen mounted in the driver’s panel that displays real-time information. The screen shows details about what is consumed, how much, for how long and the passenger comfort. The screen does not emit any sound.
With Pilotfish, the drivers also have a personal login to be able to keep track of their driving.
Both BLAB and Omnibus has a bonus system to the drivers who drive over the set limit.
Overall we interviewed 61 drivers from Borås Lokaltrafik AB and Uddevalla Omnibus.


Picture above: Driver in the Uddevalla Omnibus fleet using the Pilotfish system equipped with a drivers screen.

Boras transport and Omnibus resulted in an average score of the above stated questions:
Eco-driving: 6.8 (1-10 where 10 is best)
The driver’s place (feedback): 7.9 (1-10 where 10 is best)


Drivers estimation of correctness of eco-driving system:

Statistics shown are the average of what all drivers have answered.


The statistics shown is the number of drivers, divided from each company and their rating 1-10 that each driver has placed.

Ecodriving korrekthet2

Accuracy of Feedback in the bus:

Statistics shown are the average of what all drivers have answered on their system.


The statistics shown is the number of drivers, divided between use of their system and their rating 1-10 that each driver has placed.

Korrekthet feedback2

The results clearly show that the Nettbuss drivers are less satisfied with Traffilog system using a limited feedback to the driver (diode ramp), it clearly does not provide sufficient information and seems to annoy the driver. When the lights give a response on negative events, the driver has to figure out for himself what it is he/she could have possibly done wrong. Misunderstanding and frustration can easily occur. The drivers from BLAB and Omnibus in this study are more satisfied with the screen they use. The feedback from the Pilotfish system is clear and every step is described in detail in real time. Also avoiding the use of sound is seen as positive by the drivers. It takes away one important element that can annoy the drivers and thus make them negative to the system.

The bonus system causes the drivers with Pilotfish systems to be more satisfied, the drivers get paid more when the results are achieved and this in return gives adds to a positive spiral using an eco-driving system.
The answers from drivers where filled in individually using an automatic form engine.


What's your opinion?