New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, according to the Ministry for the Environment’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory. It is estimated that New Zealand's per capita CO2 emissions are around 17.5tonnes per person. New Zealand is one of only a few countries with a goal of achieving zero emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide by 2050, which means industries and people around the country are acting now to prepare for these impacts.
Councils are implementing the Carbon Neutral Government Program, which includes having Procurement Mandated Agencies adopt telematics in their fleets as part of their emissions monitoring strategy. Local authorities are actively reducing their emissions, in line with the Zero Carbon Amendment Act. A 2010 review by the Auditor-General found that 25 percent of surveyed local authorities were measuring, reducing, or offsetting their emissions, and a further 12 percent had plans to do so or were carrying out related activities.
This impact-reducing strategy employed by these agencies usually includes three key elements:
- Use of alternative vehicle technology such as electric or hydrogen vehicles;
- Use of biofuels;
- Use of telematics.
However, while electric vehicles (EV), hydrogen-based fuels, and hybrids are still evolving, biofuel is still in its early stages. Telematics is currently the most available off-the-shelf proven technology that helps fleet managers reduce their carbon emissions. The cost savings and other financial benefits that come from actively measuring and monitoring usage and emissions and taking steps to reduce environmental impacts makes implementing the technology all the more worthwhile.
Looking across the ditch to what Australian councils are doing to reduce their emissions with telematics, Murweh Shire Council serves as a good example. Teletrac Navman’s fleet management software is not only helping them keep tabs on carbon emissions, but has also been “exceptional bang for buck”. After choosing to adopt Teletrac Navman’s solution, Murweh Shire Council has benefited greatly from the extensive range of features that has allowed their operations to be cost-efficient, productive, and sustainable.
For example, a huge benefit for Murweh Shire Council has been the GPS vehicle tracking solution that allow managers to monitor the whereabouts of their fleet. John Wallace, Workplace Health & Safety Advisor at Murweh Shire Council, says that GPS tracking allows them to easily divert assets ‘on the fly’, which improves the productivity and efficiency of the whole fleet, leading to overall reduced emissions.
Tapping on telematics
GPS fleet tracking software and telematics is a critical element in reducing emissions for any local government running a mixed fleet. The data on speed, fuel consumption, idle time, harsh braking, location and routing that is collected through telematics allows decision makers or fleet managers to identify problem areas and trends, reduce emissions, reap productivity games and reduce costs. It is now possible, with GPS fleet tracking, to reduce unnecessary idle time and other behaviours that produce emissions. By monitoring on-site activity, you can also improve how assets are used.
The impact of reliable data
Using fleet telematics to track vehicles and assets in real-time allows you to uncover a wealth of information. Fleet is a significant cost for all councils, so being able to optimise routes or reduce harsh usage, like excessive hard braking and speeding, helps to reduce fuel costs. Routing vehicles based on real-time data and choosing the quickest route also helps to eliminate unnecessary fuel waste and lets your team fulfil more jobs in a shorter timeframe, even if it’s just getting all tasks completed on schedule, which improves customer service.
Educate and reward drivers
Environmental improvements are not the only benefits of in-vehicle monitoring systems. Rewarding better driver behaviour and educating drivers on more efficient driving habits introduces more ‘buy-in’ to fleet sustainability and encourages everyone to meet environmental goals together. Speeding, accelerating and braking harshly and idling excessively introduce more carbon dioxide into the air.
Telematics and tracking technology provides the real-time data that identifies these habits, which in turn can be used to educate drivers on how to avoid them, or to reward more sustainable behaviour. Every level of government in New Zealand has a part to play in reducing greenhouse emissions. For local authorities that have committed themselves to work towards the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement and hold average temperature increase to well below 2°C, telematics is a proven technology that takes on important environmental challenges and delivers immediate outcomes.