Electronic driving instructors puts thousands of bus drivers through their paces

How's my driving? The system will let you know...

How's my driving? The system will let you know...

First UK Bus - the UK's largest bus operator - is to install new technology to monitor how well its 9,000 buses are being driven.

The system, from telematics company GreenRoad, will assess drivers' performance by analysing how well they perform manoeuvres such as cornering and braking.

Over 120 manoeuvres can be assessed by the system, using its onboard motion detector, GPS receiver and computer, with the logged driving patterns able to be accessed by managers at First's offices.

Drivers are also expected to learn from the system, which provides them with instantaneous feedback on how well they are performing, using an LED display on the dashboard that flashes red, yellow or green.

The idea is that drivers will be motivated to keep the light green and in the process will learn to improve their driving skills.

As well as keeping an eye on drivers' day to day performance, the system will be used as a teaching aid with up to 20,000 bus drivers set to be trained using the system under the five-year contract with GreenRoad.

First UK Bus drivers get driving help from GreenRoad system

Onboard computers will be installed in 9,000 First buses (photo credit: Coradia1000 via Flickr under the following Creative Commons licence)

Computers that monitor or even control our driving are growing in popularity, with the Ministry of Defence already installing the GreenRoad system in 120 vehicles and Transport for London trialling a technology that can stop a driver from breaking the speed limit.

First claims that drivers are enthusiastic about the project and has said it will reward the best drivers with money from a £2m pot.

The system will both improve passenger safety and help the company reduce its CO2 emissions by 132,000 tonnes over the next three years, according to the company, by travelling at a more constant speed and cutting breaking and accelerating.

First started to trial GreenRoad's service in March this year on 1,000 buses and the company says it has already seen a significant decrease in the amount of CO2 emissions from its buses. The company's remaining 8,000 buses will be fitted with the system over the course of the next year.