Counting the Minutes: Measuring Truck Driver Time Efficiency

Günter Prockl, Henrik Sternberg, Vahid Sohrabpor, Sten Wandel

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The performance of truck drivers is crucial to the sustainability, in particular profitability, of motor carrier operations. Despite this, driver efficiency, in particular in terms of time has received scarce attention in the transport and logistics literature. Given the importance of the drivers in transport operations, the purpose of this paper is to identify and define methods on driver efficiency. This research has been inductive in its nature, departing from a literature review focused on various aspects of transport operations performance, staff time measurement and driver control. The empirical data underlying this paper has been collected over 5 years throughout numerous projects in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland related to transport efficiency and summarizes the experiences made in these projects. In total, 80 drivers belonging to 22 motor carriers were measured using different types of participant observations and driver self-observation. The findings of this synthesis revealed first that driver measurement is scarce and virtually non-existent outside the boundaries of ecodriving. The findings indicate that driver self-observation is a reliable tool for measuring driver
efficiency and that tacho-meter based approaches are unreliable. Finally, this paper gives novel insights on using nomadic devices (e.g., smart-phones) as tools to interact with the driver. The research impact of this work can be identified in two separate areas. Firstly, the paper addresses the need for a broader view on drivers’ efficiency, departing from previous fuel-centred approaches. Secondly the paper gives directions on how to re-interpret findings
from previous literature that has used flawed tachometer-based approaches. On a strategic level, this paper advices the motor carrier industry to address drivers’ efficiency on a more holistic level then what has previously been done. Practitioners addressing driver efficiency will find important principles to guide their work in measuring drivers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventThe 13th World Conference on Transport Research. WCTR 2013 - Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 15 Jul 201318 Jul 2013
Conference number: 13


ConferenceThe 13th World Conference on Transport Research. WCTR 2013
LocationWindsor Barra Hotel
CityRio de Janeiro
Internet address

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