Economic Analysis of Onboard Monitoring Systems in Commercial Vehicles
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTransportation Research Record. 2013, 2379 64-71. 10.3141/2379-08
Onboard monitoring systems (OBMSs) can be used in commercial vehicle operations to monitor driving behavior, with the goal of enhancing safety. Although improved safety produces an economic benefit to carriers, understanding how this benefit compares with the cost of the system is an important factor for carrier acceptance. In addition to the safety benefits provided from the use of OBMSs, operational improvements may have economic benefits. This research provides, through a benefit-cost analysis, a better understanding of the economic implications of OBMSs from the perspective of the carrier. In addition to the benefits of reduced crashes, the benefits associated with reduced mileage, reduced fuel costs, and the electronic recording of hours of service (HOS) are considered. A sensitivity analysis demonstrates that OBMSs are economically viable under a wide range of conditions. The results indicate that for some types of fleets, a reduction in crashes and an improvement in HOS recording provides a net benefit of close to $300,000 over the 5-year expected life span of the system. Furthermore, when additional benefits, such as reduced fuel consumption and reduced vehicle miles, are explored, the operation-related benefits can be upward of seven times more than the safety-related benefits. This research also shows that net positive benefits are possible in large and small fleets. The results can be used to inform policies that motivate or mandate carriers to use such systems and to inform carriers about the value of system investment.