BIG COUNTRY, BIG DATA, BIG TRANSPORT EFFICIENCIES: A CASE STUDY OF REMOTE TRANSPORT IN CENTRAL AUSTRALIA



BIG COUNTRY, BIG DATA, BIG TRANSPORT EFFICIENCIES: A CASE STUDY OF REMOTE TRANSPORT IN CENTRAL AUSTRALIA

Authors

Gillian Akers, AkersConsult

Description

6-months of vehicle tracking data was combined with corporate data and staff surveys to quantify the purpose of travel in remote Central Australia. A new fleet mix and management measures resulted in significant capital and operating savings.

Abstract

The Central Land Council (CLC) is a Council of 90 Aboriginal people elected from communities in the southern half of the Northern Territory - an area of 776,549 square kilometres, of which traditional Aboriginal landowners own 407,985 square kilometres of Aboriginal freehold land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

CLC provides a wide range of services for the benefit of traditional owners and other Aboriginal residents of the CLC region, delivered by a staff of over 200, based largely in Alice Springs but with significant presence in regional offices. A major component of CLC’s work involves travel over long distances in remote country and often involves transport of Aboriginal residents between multiple locations. CLC owned and operated a vehicle fleet of over 110 passenger vehicles which travelled more than 1.8 million vehicle kilometres in a 12 month period. It undertook a review of transportation needs to achieve cost-saving efficiencies, to improve safety and to ensure compliance with recent regulatory changes.

The installation of satellite GPS tracking devices in each vehicle provided Big Data inputs into the review, detailed tracking of each vehicle over a 12-month period. This provided a sound evidence base on which to develop the review.

Because of the unique and complex nature of CLC’s transport task, the review was conducted from first principles. It followed “simple” transport planning principles:
• understanding the market, in this case CLC’s business across all Units by staff and constituent consultation
• underpinning the study with evidence of observed travel patterns from a range of data including vehicle tracking and management systems
• linking current travel to markets (group size, road conditions and trip purpose)
• identifying options to provide an efficient and safe transport solution and
• recommending a fleet structure, vehicle mix and size and a range of strategic and operational measures to deliver improved efficiency and safety.

This paper concentrates on the use of the large data set of vehicle movements, its spatial analysis, linking with institutional data and supplementation with bespoke staff surveys. It also describes how the combination of these data sources enabled a range of efficiency measures to be identified, resulting in significant cost savings in the capital cost of the fleet and in ongoing operational costs, predominantly fuel savings, without reducing the net travel nor compromising the ability to serve the needs of the business.


AUTHOR's NOTE:

This paper belongs best in the National Travel Surveys seminar topic area, which is not in the pull down menu below. It covers a number of Conference themes; I have selected the most relevant.

Publisher

Association for European Transport